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2003/04 Budget Good for Agriculture

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Contact: John Emmanuel

Darnley Auguste

Darnley Auguste, Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Thursday, April 10, 2003 - Key government officials have been having their say on the 2003/04 Budget presentation by Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Honourable Dr. Kenny Anthony. Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Mr. Darnley Auguste, has described the Budget as a good one in relation to the agricultural sector.

The figures presented according to Auguste, take into account the general decline in the banana situation, attempts towards diversification and the overall recovery of the sector. “A lot of the investment that’s being undertaken by government in roads construction, tourism marketing and the like can redound to the benefit of the agricultural sector,” said Auguste.

He told the Government Information Service, “We don’t examine the budget for just what it contains for agriculture, but for the linkages and the benefits we get from investments in other sectors. Tourism as an example is an important sector and there has been a lot of back and forth about which contributes more to Gross Domestic Product (GDP). However it must be noted that changes and circumstances do not affect them equally, meaning that when tourism if affected then agriculture can pick up the slack. It must also be noted that improving the situation in tourism helps agriculture as tourism represents a very important vehicle for local produce.”

Auguste says given the current downturn in the global economic situation, and the uncertainty over the US/Iraqi war, it was prudent for government to stimulate the local economy by large injections of funds into the productive sectors like manufacturing, construction, commerce and agriculture.

Well over $32 million of the $861.3 million 2003/04 Budget will be directly pumped into agriculture. The sector will also receive millions of dollars in indirect contributions via the Special Framework of Assistance Programme, the Farmers Feeder Roads Initiative, the Rural Credit Facility and many others.

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