April 21, 2008
Final plans are progressing smoothly in readiness for Nevis‘ premier annual agricultural showcase on April 24th to 25th and officials of the Department of Agriculture, hosts of the annual event, said all preparatory works are on schedule.
During an interview with the Department of Information on Monday April 21, 2008, the Department’s Communication’s Officer Mr. Eric Evelyn described the 14th Agriculture Open Day at the Villa grounds in Charlestown, as an event to promote food security and a tool to promote farming at every level. The Theme for the 2008 fair is “Micro-Farming: The Driving Force for Agriculture ““ Past, Present and Future”.
“The reason for this theme being, we are trying to promote agriculture at all levels. We have over the years done a lot to promote commercial farming but we are trying to promote farming from a micro level to a macro level, where you can have people doing farming in their backyard and even persons who do not have space can be doing farming in containers,” he said.
Mr. Evelyn explained that the theme was selected against the backdrop of rising food prices worldwide and agriculture officials wanted to buffer the effect on Nevis.
“We are doing this in the backdrop of the fact that there are rising food prices all over the world right now, there is a crunch with regards to the availability of food items in some areas and we do not want it to become a problem in Nevis “¦ So it’s all about trying to promote farming at every level and we are tying to promote food security as well,” he said.
This year’s Open Day will be held under the patronage of Mr. George Sutton, who had worked with the Department of Agriculture for over 40 years. “He is now over 90 and we are very pleased to be able to honour him for 2008,” the Department’s spokesman said.
Mr. Evelyn pointed to a number of attractions that patrons could expect at the agricultural exhibition and noted that of special interest would be the use of new technology
“One of the new technologies we are trying to promote is called Aquaponics which is a combination of fish farming and agriculture where you can actually be farming fish and waste from the fish can be used to fertilise your crops. So you will be able to have fish and crops to eat,” he said.
According to Mr. Evelyn, much emphasis has been placed on the area of livestock production and the availability of fresh produce for sale.
“We will be placing a lot of emphasis on livestock and for this year we will be having for the livestock section which is new, an incubation process where persons can actually see eggs being hatched on the spot.
“Over the years a lot of folks come to the Open Day just to purchase items and we are telling the general public that we are going to have a lot of fresh locally grown and produced items on sale, lots of vegetables, beef, pork, mutton, sausages, ground beef, watermelon, cucumber, tomatoes, butternut squash, sweet peppers, sweet corn, fresh cassava and cassava meal,” he explained.
There will be the Bartenders Competition. Mr. Evelyn said there has been an increase in the number of registered bartenders for the contest but they will have to be involved in an additional section called the Mystery Bar. The competing bartenders would be given a number of locally grown food items and would be requited to put a quick cocktail together.
Other attractions will include a display on cotton production; and a variety of locally produced items from the island’s agro processors and farmers. The Department’s annual raffle will offer a bull, piglet and a sheep as top prizes.
With regard to the availability of lunch, he said there would be a more vendors than previous years to ensure that there would be no shortages.
“For the lunch section we have added a few more food vendors. Over the years we have had a problem where the food has run out but we are telling you that the lunch will not run out this year. We are having extra food vendors and for the first time we will be having a stall with ital,” he said.
The entertainment package will offer performances by three local bands ““ The Ultrasonic Band, The Ultimate Band and The Eclectic Band. Patrons will also be entertained by performances from primary school students.
The Agriculture Open Day is expected to attract Department of Agriculture counterparts from St. Kitts.