Executive Council met today Tuesday 14 July 2015, with one item on the Open Agenda. His Excellency the Governor welcomed the new Members to Executive Council and members of the public in attendance.

In the Open Agenda, Executive Council considered customs duty statutory concessions for agricultural importers to support the farming industry, taking account of the National Agricultural Policy & Implementation Strategy (2014-2020).

In addition to support already given to farmers through Enterprise St Helena and SHG’s Environment & Natural Resources Directorate, Executive Council approved a reduction in import duty from 20% to 5% in the following categories:

  • All animal feed used for agricultural purposes. This does not include pet food, which remains at 20%
  • Agricultural machinery and equipment with a value of over £1000 per item
  • All poly-tunnels and hydroponic equipment
  • F1 hybrid vegetable seed
  • Sweet corn, maize and oats seed and fodder beet at weights of over 1kg
  • Seed potatoes. The types and varieties are to be agreed by ANRD and will be stated on the import licence
  • All equipment relating to bee-keeping
  • All fertilizer in quantities of 10kg and above.

In relation to the relief on agricultural machinery and equipment with a value of over £1000 per item, farmers will still be able to claim investment tax credit.

To offset these reductions in Customs Duty, it was agreed that the current import duty on oils and fats, including lard, should be increased from 5% to 20%. Executive Council recognises the importance of promoting a healthier lifestyle, which is supported under other tax policies such as Sugar Tax. A further review of duties will be carried out later this year.

ExCo recognises that agriculture is a key sector on the Island and is vital to future economic development. Acknowledgement was made to the Farmers’ Association, St Helena Chamber of Commerce and to SHG officers for their valuable input and recommendations.

ExCo

14 July 2015

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