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.