Last week, Montserrat’s Minister of Agriculture Crenston Buffonge attended the 6th Meeting of the OECS Council of Ministers: Agriculture in Dominica on October 13 and 14, 2022.
This was the first meeting of the ministers since November 2017.
Minister Buffonge told Discover Montserrat that it provided the opportunity for member states to be updated on key OECS Agriculture Initiatives including the OECS Food and Agriculture Systems Transformation (FAST) Strategy, EU-financed Blue Economy Initiatives, the OECS/UNCTAD/CITES Queen Conch Value Chain Study and the OECS/CBF Caribbean Regional Architecture for Biodiversity (CRAB).
While the minister did not make a formal presentation at the meeting, he highlighted several issues which face Montserrat.
Minister Buffonge, who is also an avid farmer, identified areas where small island states such as Montserrat get overlooked in the larger projects and strategies and the practical hands-on solutions which are needed to propel growth and economic stimulation for their people.
He shared ideas on solutions for irrigation, the need for control of pests such as agouti and iguana, the need for improved planting materials and animal stock. Training and capacity building was also a necessity, the minister added.
Minister Buffonge extended an invitation to the OECS secretariat to visit Montserrat shortly, to create a unique plan of action which matches the needs of the island. This invitation has been accepted.
While at the meetings, Buffonge had several conversations with the Dominica’s Minister of Agriculture Fidel Grant on establishing better collaboration between Montserrat and Dominica.
The OECS final communique will be issued shortly after the minutes have been ratified.