Government of St. Kitts and Nevis passes key legislation to protect animal and plant health in pursuit of a more robust agricultural sector

Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Samal Duggins.

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Basseterre, St. Kitts – The Minister responsible for Agriculture, the Honorable Samal Duggins, led the debates on two key pieces of legislation in the National Assembly on Thursday, May 2, 2024, both aimed at protecting animal and plant health in St. Kitts and Nevis, and improving animal and plant health in St. Kitts and Nevis. sustainability of agriculture throughout the Federation.

Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Samal Duggins.

After meaningful contributions from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, the Animal Health Bill, 2023, and the Plant Protection Bill, 2023, were successfully passed into law.

The Plant Protection Bill, 2023, aims to prevent the entry and establishment of plant pests in the Federation and control their spread. It also promotes the protection of plant resources and facilitates the movement of plants and plant products into and within St. Kitts and Nevis.

Similarly, the Animal Health Bill, 2023, seeks to implement measures to control the movement of animals, animal products and animal-related items into and within the Federation to prevent the introduction and spread of notifiable animal diseases within St. Kitts. and Nevis and other countries. The legislation also aims to protect animal health and provides for cooperation between ministries and departments and regional and international organizations in the provision of veterinary public health.

Regarding the Animal Health Bill 2023, Minister Duggins said it further aligns St. Kitts and Nevis with the principles of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The OIE is an intergovernmental organization responsible for improving animal health worldwide through the development of international standards, guidelines and recommendations for veterinary products.

He noted: “By adhering to these principles, we will not only improve our veterinary services, but also contribute to global efforts to combat animal diseases and facilitate trade.”

Secretary Duggins said these two pieces of legislation become even more important in the context of the Department’s 25 by 25 Food Import Reduction Program, which has led to dramatic increases in agricultural production by local farmers.

“We cannot allow our farmers to cultivate millions of dollars worth of trees and have a pest or disease enter the land and destroy them. We must protect the livelihood of our farmers,” the minister emphasized.

The Animal Health Bill, 2023, and the Plant Protection Bill, 2023, were both first read on September 18, 2023.

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