Nevis Agriculture Open – 2022 Bigger and Better
The numerous vendor stalls lining the grounds of the Elquemedo T. Willett Park on Thursday, March 24, 2022, signaled the resurgence of the highly popular Agriculture Open Day on Nevis.
Deputy Premier Hon. Alexis Jeffers, Minister of Agriculture in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA), officially declared the two-day event open, noting that the Department of Agriculture had organized the event in a short time, following a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I want to express how delighted I am to stand here this morning and witness and be a part of this 26th hosting of Agriculture Open Day. I am happy, I’m glad, I’m elated to witness this activity being hosted this morning. We have missed two years. This is our flagship event when we look to showcase what we’ve done in agriculture over the past 12 months when it is held annually. I want you to patronize all of the stalls here, buy some food, buy some seeds (#ad) and seedlings and plants.
“Let me declare this Open Day 2022 open and I wish every vendor success in their exploits today and tomorrow and I want us all to have a safe time. May God continue to bless the entire island of Nevis so that we can continue to produce and provide for ourselves and to ensure that we continue to be innovative and sustainable in our efforts,” he said during the opening ceremony.
The Deputy Premier commended the staff of the Department for their hard work and dedication through recent challenging times.
Mr. Jeffers also presented a token of appreciation to the event’s patron, Mr. John ‘Ford’ Parris, for the significant contribution he made to the agriculture sector over some 32 years.
Mr. Randy Elliott, Director of Agriculture in the NIA, also welcomed the return of the event. He spoke to this year’s theme, “Fostering Economic Grown Through Innovation” in the context of the work of the Department in ensuring the continuation of the sector and survival of stakeholders during the COVID era.
“At the end of 2019 when we were planning for the 2020 Open Day we were struck by COVID. For us to be innovative we were able to do a number of programs to support our farmers here on the island on Nevis. In March of 2020 we would have started our seed distribution program (#ad) to our farmers- that is innovation; we provided our farmers with [free] land preparation- that is innovation; through the support of the Cabinet we were able to grant our farmers free water- that is innovation; and we continue to keep our farmer’s market monthly to ensure that the local food produced by the people of Nevis was able to reach to the plates of the people of Nevis- that is innovation.
“Our journey continued and we have not left our farmers or our partners by the side, we continue to support them, we continue to work with them. We are working for the people and we have to continue to ensure our people have access to healthy nutritious and affordable food,” he said.
He highlighted that with just two months to plan the event the presentations at the grounds were impressive, attracting new farmers, including women and young persons.
In attendance at the ceremony were Hon. Mark Brantley, Premier of Nevis; Members of the NIA Cabinet; Mr. Huey Sargeant, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture; His Excellency Michael Lin, Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis and members of the Taiwanese Technical Mission; Mr. Ron Collins, Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and a team from that Ministry; and representatives from the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and other allied agencies.
A number of local stakeholders in the sector including crop and livestock farmers and fisher folk, were also present.
The Agriculture Open Day 2022 boasts a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, locally made juices and confections, agro-processed items, craft items, seeds and plants (#ad), delectable dishes, and other items on sale, as well as cultural and musical entertainment. Horseback riding and other exciting activities are also provided.
The event continues on Friday, March 24, from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.