(PRESS RELEASE) – The months of January and February 2020 were earmarked for a series of site visits of agriculture, farm and production facilities being utilised under the Import Substitution Program.
The initiative, more commonly known as the Seven Crops Project, has picked up momentum since its official launch last October, having hosted a number of farmers markets around the island.
Minister with responsibility for food production, Hon Ezechiel Joseph, led the contingent of agriculture leaders in assessing the progress of the project on the ground. More importantly, the activities were opportunities for the agriculture minister to interface with the farmers who have thus far demonstrated their commitment to producing the designated seven crops in keeping with the standards set by the Ministry of Agriculture.
Farmers involved in the Seven Crops Project have been certified and trained in safe food production, and show potential in helping to meet one of the pivotal objectives of the programme: that of reducing the island’s seven million-dollar food import bill by having cantaloupes, honeydew, melons, lettuce, tomatoes, pineapples, watermelons, cabbages and bell peppers readily available for purchasers of the hospitality industry, retailers and consumers. They also play an integral role in boosting the consumption of locally-grown fruits and vegetables.
Increased production of the cash crops under the Import Substitution Program is encouraged through incentives and technical support from the Taiwan ICDF, one of the Agriculture Ministry’s partners for development of the sector.