The Ministry of Agriculture will be working closely with a Chinese-based agricultural firm to develop the local sector through the use of technology.
The three-year project with the Chinese-based Yuan Longping High-Tech Agriculture Company (LPHT) and the government of Antigua and Barbuda was signed during a brief ceremony yesterday at the Ministry of Agriculture.
Through the duration of the project, LPHT will dispatch eight agricultural experts to work in Antigua for three years, providing technical assistance in the area of vegetable and tree cultivation and processing technology.
They will also establish seven greenhouses; two for experimental demonstrations and five for commercial production in the Greencastle area.
Dean Jonas, agriculture minister, said the team from China will also be setting up a tissue culture facility on lands provided by the Agriculture Development Corporation (ADC) and the agriculture ministry.
“These are all research facilities that will enable us to acquire the technology to change our game in agricultural crop production in Antigua and Barbuda. The ADC will be the local arm to manage this process. The ADC is a fully owned company of the government under the guidance of the ministry of agriculture,” Jonas said.
The minister said that immediately after the project is launched and is fully operational, the government will allocate up to 2,000 acres of land both on the mainland and in Barbuda for crop farming.
“We expect that within 18 months to two years, we will be able to accomplish our goal of being self-sufficient in certain crops in Antigua and Barbuda,” Jonas said.
Chinese Ambassador to Antigua, Wang Xianmin said China is pleased to assist the twin-island state in this regard.
“I am confident that Antigua and Barbuda farmers will harvest more vegetables and crops with the knowledge that will be shared by our experts,” the ambassador said.