NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (July 06, 2020)- Deputy Premier and Minister of Agriculture in the Nevis Island Administration Hon. Alexis Jeffers says the NIA’s COVID-19 Relief package for farmers is already bearing fruit.
Delivering a report on the sector in the Nevis Island Assembly on Thursday, July 02, 2020, Hon. Jeffers informed that a large number of established and new farmers have availed themselves of the initiatives offered by the Department of Agriculture with the blessing of the Cabinet of the Nevis Island Administration.
As of March, the NIA offered free land preparation to commercial and novice farmers, free seeds and seedlings, free fertilizer, a six-month waiver on water bills for farmers, and assistance with fencing to commercial and backyard farmers.
Earlier in the year the NIA embarked on an initiative of planting 10,000 trees including fruit trees, and although there was a slowdown of the process due to the COVID-19 regulations, the Minister said the NIA intends to pursue the initiative with some alacrity over the next couple of months.
Pledging the NIA’s continued support to farmers, Hon. Jeffers also revealed that currently at the Prospect location a six-room refrigerator facility is being constructed to take crops produced by local farmers where the Department of Agriculture will assume the responsibility of making the sales on behalf of the farmers.
“I want to commend all those who would have bought into the plans and programmes of the NIA through the Department of Agriculture. We’ve seen a new thrust, a new hope in agriculture. Over the years we’ve had a lot of talk about agriculture, what it means to the development of the island of Nevis and to Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, but in recent times we have seen even more the importance of us feeding ourselves. We have to get to the point where we are not dependent on outside sources or entities to feed us.”
The Honourable Minister gave further assurance to the entire Nevisian public that the Nevis Island Administration is highly committed to ensuring that food security becomes front and centre for its plans, programmes, policies and vision moving forward.
“There are three things I always impress upon when it comes to agriculture: innovation, resilience and sustainability. Once these three conditions are met, I do believe agriculture will be in good standing here in the federation,” said Minister Jeffers.