The 2016-2021 Agricultural Strategy and Marketing Plan (ASMP) is available for public feedback.
The document made available via the Ministry of Agriculture presents several strategic intentions for growth of the agricultural sector on island. The strategic intentions which underpin the ASMP include:
- Reduction of Montserrat’s dependence on imported fresh food;
- Explore and exploit niche market opportunities for local food products;
- Applying more modern technologies to the sector as a whole; and
- Promoting consumption of fresh food as a contributor to wellness
“The demand for agricultural produce in Montserrat is relatively stable. The major challenge is to ensure a constant year-round supply of fresh vegetables, root crops, plants starches and fresh citrus, pork, sheep and goat meat, eggs poultry meat. There has always been a strong demand for fresh fish but the prospect of Ciguatera (fish) poisoning remains a limiting factor. It has been observed that the consumption of fresh pork has been increasing. There is a marked deficit between poultry production and consumption. Local broiler production is estimated at less than 30% of the demand for whole chickens.
“The very small size of the population often results in over-supply on a commodity by commodity basis. Preventing such gluts in an environment in which each producer is free to make his/her own planting and harvesting decisions has proved a perennial challenge,” the report notes.
The strategic document recognizes the aging population of farmers as a challenge which must be overcome. The average farmer is over the age of 50. Sloping land and various types of land tenancy agreements are other challenges which need to be tackled for the industry to grow.
The plan notes however, “that the majority of the Objectives laid out in the Strategy cannot be achieved without a substantial increase in the financial resources provided to support the agricultural sector. Making the case for grant resources in particular is a strategic priority. The case will be made within the framework for requesting
development assistance for Montserrat.”
According to the document’s conclusion, “the ASMP is a planning and management tool for the Department of Agriculture in Montserrat. It establishes a cohesive framework for a policy of food import substitution with a commitment to the exploration and development of niche market opportunities for selected commodities. The existence of the Strategy will not by itself guarantee successful implementation. Success will depend on the extent to which resource allocations, strategic leadership, planning, coordination, teamwork, performance management, engagement with strategic partners, cooperation of stakeholders are effectively and consistently utilised.”
Read the Synopsis of the plan here.
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