NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (March 14, 2013) — The 19th annual Agriculture Open Day, the flagship event of the Department of Agriculture on Nevis, has been scheduled for March 21st and 22nd at the Villa Grounds in Charlestown. It will be held under the theme “Intensify Local Production for a Healthy Nation”. Zion Villager and veteran Livestock Farmer Mrs. Sandra David will be Patron of the island’s premier agricultural event.
The disclosures were made when the Department’s Chief Extension Officer Mr. Walcott James and Agricultural Supervisor Mr. Randy Elliott were guests for one hour on the weekly “On the Mark” radio programme, aired on VON Radio on March 13, 2013. The programme was hosted by Minister of Agriculture in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) Hon. Alexis Jeffers.
In an invited comment, Mr. James stated that themes were important and over the years were had served as reflections of ongoing issues in the community and this year was no different.
“We put a lot of emphasis on the theme that we are going to choose year after year because it is very important to make the people understand, we are going through a non communicable disease crisis and those come as a result of poor eating habits, the low consumption of fruits and vegetables…
“We decided that taking into consideration the seriousness of this problem and we have to dedicate our Open Day to discuss this aspect of health. The people are just not consuming enough fruits and vegetables and therefore, we decided we have to use this opportunity… to bring this very important message to the people through Open Day – you have to change your eating habits,” he said.
As to whether the objectives for the themes of Open Days past had been met, Mr. James indicated that they had been realised but had not totally met expectations considering the short span of the almost 19-year event.
“Yes definitely they have been met but let me explain. This is a work in progress and 20 years is a short period of time but we are satisfied so far with how much we have achieved. So far people listen to what we say, people listen to what we present [and] people are slowly but steadily changing some of their habits.
“Right now we are going into the schools, with all this information, we share with the farmers, we make the farmers and the general public aware … but we take this activity, the Open day, to include everybody and make them understand that this is not a Ministry of Agriculture activity, this is everybody involved. Everybody has to push together and therefore, at the end of the road we would be able to achieve the percentage that we are looking for,” he said.