NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (JANUARY 26, 2023) — Stakeholders in the agricultural sector on Nevis took part in a Crop Protection Symposium, held at the Emergency Operations Center at Long Point on January 26, 2023.
The meeting, hosted by Trinidad-based Caribbean Chemicals and Agencies Limited in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA), was designed to create an opportunity for farmers to further grasp an understanding of crop protection and to provide digital lab and crop diagnostic services in order to assess, prevent and treat pests and diseases.
Mr. Randy Elliott, Director of the Department of Agriculture, in his remarks at the opening ceremony underscored the significance of the symposium to farmers.
“Crop protection is a very important element within the context of agriculture, and quite often a number of farmers go and plant without actually monitoring their crops or without actually having any crop protection mechanism in place, and there are times the losses from pests are quite significant.
“This morning’s symposium although it says Caribbean Chemicals, it’s not about just utilising chemicals but it’s for you as farmers. Staff from the Department of Agriculture are to be able to monitor your crops. Look for signs, look for symptoms, look for feeding habits and then from there, once you are able to understand what pest is actually affecting you, then you know what sort of mechanism you have to put in place – whether you are changing the cultural practices, biological practices or whether or not you use a pesticide as a means of control,” he said.
The director noted that the department is actively trying to play its part in the mandate set by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to reduce the food import bill by 2025. However, he added that the assistance of those in the agricultural industry is critical to realising the goal.
“We at the department, we cannot do it alone. We are reaching out to our partners such as Caribbean Chemicals but we are reaching out to you our main partners, the individuals who actually would lead in terms of ensuring food security, that reduction in the food importation is you, our farmers,” he said.
Mr. Elliott also used the opportunity to thank Caribbean Chemicals for its continued partnership with the department which has so far spanned several years.
Meantime, Mr. Kennedy Paul, Technical Export Agronomist from Caribbean Chemicals, who facilitated the one-day symposium, expressed gratitude to the department for giving him the opportunity to impart knowledge to the farmers, whom he regards as major shareholders in the agricultural industry.
“Today, hopefully we could go through some of the more relevant pests affecting crop protection in St. Kitts and Nevis. What we intend to do, I’m going to help you to identify certain symptoms of insect pests damage in your crops for particular crops, vegetable crops, crops like your tomatoes, your carrots; I’ve also heard of an interesting pest problem that you guys have which is the Leaf Hopper. I hope I get the opportunity to take a look at it during our field trip.
“I want to thank everybody here for showing up first and foremost, and I want to thank the Department of Agriculture for always being so cooperative and helpful as it relates to imparting knowledge on the farmers,” he said.
A similar workshop was held on January 25, 2023 in St. Kitts.
The ceremony was chaired by Mrs. Shariska Rodriques, Marketing Manager of the Larinson Parry Agricultural Depot. She also delivered the welcome remarks and the vote of thanks, while Mr. Carlton’J Williams delivered a prayer.