September 05, 2007
For Immediate Public Release
Minister of Agriculture Hon Robelto Hector urged farmers to take advantage of training workshops offered by the Agriculture authorities on Nevis. He said the transfer of knowledge to would serve them for a lifetime.
The Minister made the comment at the start of a workshop for farmers in the area of corn production on Tuesday September 04, 2007 at the Taiwanese Mission in Cades Bay. The one day event which was attended by over 10 farmers was a collaborative effort of the Nevis Department of Agriculture and the Taiwanese Mission.
“I want to ask farmers to take this training workshop very seriously because the knowledge you gain here is the knowledge you would be able to impart to others. It is the knowledge that brings to you more money. Today, we are rather specific about extending knowledge about corn production. In extending knowledge, I am hoping that farmers would understand that this knowledge is for a lifetime. The farmer who succeeds is always the farmer who is wiling to try something new.
“I am always happy that what is done at the Department or at the Mission trickles down to the farmer. I am hoping that before the years is out I would be invited again to a farmer’s plot which would be a true testimony of what you learned here,” he said.Meantime, Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Dr. Kelvin Daly described the workshop as viable. He said given the large market for corn locally, Nevis has missed out on the opportunity in the past years to capitalise on corn production. He said corn was not easily spoilt, had a long shelf life and was easy to produce with the appropriate knowledge.
Dr. Daly noted that farmers on Nevis had moved away from the production of older varieties of corn to hybrid varieties which required specific attention.
He said the Department of Agriculture on Nevis had seized the opportunity to cultivate 1 ½ acres of corn but with the great demand for the product on the island it was a viable commodity for farmers.
“We should not be out of a simple product like corn. The market is there, the technology is here at the Taiwanese Mission and the technology at the Department, we hoping that you would adopt it and make it part of your regular schedule of planting,” he said.
Notwithstanding, the Agriculture Official told farmers they should not be frightened to move into corn production because of the farming predation by wild animals. He said the Department had put in place a programme to try to control that aspect of farming.
Chief Extension Officer (CEO) Mr. Walcott James said Nevis had imported inn excess of 15, 000 pounds of corn in 2006 and the Department had found it necessary to promote the production of corn production.
He said although there was some level of production by farmers on the island they did not have the proper technical information to increase the income generated by their farms and thereby develop the agriculture industry in Nevis.
Mr. James said the combined expertise of the Department, the Taiwanese Mission and the farmers would auger well for Nevis’ self sufficiency in Nevis production.
The CEO thanked the Taiwanese for the close collaboration with the Department of Agriculture in the area of vegetable production, fruit trees and the exchange of technical information for the benefit of Department’s staff and ultimately all of Nevis.
Head of the Taiwanese Mission in St. Kitts and Nevis Dr. Chen Keng Feng said the mission was pleased to collaborate with the Ministry of Agriculture and among other things would teach the farmers how to arrange a planting plan in an effort to sustain the regular availability of corn.