NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (May 06, 2021) – – The activities planned to observe Agriculture Awareness Month in May are designed to bring about a sharper focus on the impact of agriculture on the Nevis community.
Mr. Huey Sargeant, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA), outlined the objectives of some of the activities.
“The farmers’ market on May 07 at Beach Road in Gingerland will have local farmers selling their produce at farm prices, or at least a lower price than one would normally pay in the supermarket or at a vendor.
“In addition we will have the livestock farmers there so persons can get their fresh meats, and the [Nevis Fishermen’s Marketing & Supply Cooperative Society] is on board as well so fresh fish should also be available.
“We also have the market sale along the road adjacent to the Charlestown Public Market on May 18. Vendors will set up their stalls on that road and sell fresh produce and other items. We hope to have some cooked food on sale and some music as well to help promote the event,” he said.
The ministry will conduct a livestock farmers’ outreach from May 17-21 to hear concerns and challenges and to ensure they are properly managing their livestock.
A Banana Management Workshop will be held on May 19 primarily to provide information about the prevention and treatment of Black sigatoka, one of the more prevalent and dangerous diseases of banana plants which has now entered St. Kitts and Nevis.
Mr. Sargeant said one of the major events for Agriculture Awareness Month is the commissioning of the cold storage facility at the government-owned farm at Prospect on May 27.
“This facility allows us to store much of the excess food that is produced on the island at the correct temperatures, thus improving the shelf life of fresh fruits and vegetables extending it up to six weeks to two months.
“We’ve done the necessary tests and we’re in the process of outfitting it with shelves and other equipment to ensure it functions properly and efficiently,” he said, pointing out that this would significantly reduce the amount of produce lost to spoilage.
Another highlight of the month of activities will be the Staff and Farmers’ Awards Ceremony to be held at the Nevis Performing Arts Centre (NePAC) on May 29.
The Permanent Secretary said the awards are usually distributed at the annual Agriculture Open Day, however due to COVID-19 restrictions the event was cancelled in 2020. He said the hardworking staff at the Ministry and Department of Agriculture and members of the farming community deserve to be recognized for their efforts in ensuring food security on Nevis.
This year is the 9th edition of the observance of Agriculture Awareness Month.