CHARLESTOWN, NEVIS (March 30, 2007)
Farmers on Nevis should continue to embrace new technologies, as the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) strived, through consultation, to provide a climate conducive to continued progress and growth. Minister of Agriculture on Nevis the Hon. Robelto Hector made the comment, while he impressed on farmers the importance of technology, when he delivered the feature address at the 13th annual Agriculture Open Day at The Villa in Charlestown on March 29, 2007.
“I ask you as farmers and as a society to continue to embrace new technologies. As a government we would upon consultation with you, strive to provide the climate necessary for your continued progress and growth. We are all aware that Nevis like other Caribbean islands continues to face the challenges of natural disasters; an aging farming population; barriers to Caribbean trade; a lack of private and public investment in the agricultural sector and the depletion of our marine resources.
“Despite these challenges, agriculture related issues continue to dominate the global trade agenda”¦ Let us all view what is offered today and recognize that the agricultural sector of our economy is a sector that contributes significantly to food security, social stability, protection of our environment and generation of employment,” he said.The Agriculture Minister explained that this year’s theme “Implementing Science and Technology to Increase and Sustain Agricultural Productivity” was selected as a true testimony to the belief that those who failed to adopt new technologies risked being left behind. He said the information age was in full flight and has swept the world in astonishing ways so immense that it had given way to the technology and communication revolution.
The objectives of the Open Day according to Mr. Hector, were to promote the freshness and quality of locally produced commodities; to raise the awareness of the level of agricultural activity on the island; to recognize the contribution of the Ministry of Agriculture as a facilitator for farmer development; to highlight the services offered by the Department of Agriculture and to demonstrate in a collaborative effort how everyone could assist in shaping the society.
He also took the opportunity to thank the patron Mr. James Cozier for his contribution to the development of Agriculture and Fisheries on Nevis, to former Directors of Agriculture Mr. Augustine Merchant pioneer and Mr. Samuel Powell who he said had successfully staged a number of Open Day activities during their tenure.
Meantime, Minister Hector handed out a number of plaques to deserving farmers and fishers who were honoured by the Ministry for their contribution in various fields in agriculture. The top three were Mr. Donald Daniel, Mr. Wilroy Gerald and Mr. Winston Hobson.
Mr. Donald Daniel was named as Crop Farmer of the Year for 2006-2007. According to Mr. Eric Evelyn Communications Officer in the Department of Agriculture, Mr. Daniel was described by the Extension Division, as a farmer who co-operated well with the Department. He was also one of the most consistent farmers on Nevis. Who over the years had produced quality and quantity crops which included cucumbers, tomatoes and watermelon.
Mr. Daniel was hailed as a pioneer farmer involved in banana production; as the farmer who had marketed the highest quality of produce through the Marketing Unit and a farmer who implemented technology that was generally passed on to him by the Extension staff.
The accolade of Livestock Farmer of the Year went to Mr. Wilroy Gerald the owner and manager of the Low Ground Egg Farm which had been in existence for the past 11 years.
Mr. Evelyn explained that the egg farm was a semi automated battery cage system which meant that his birds were fed and his pen cleaned automatically Future plans include a fully automated system. The farm had a capacity of 2500 layers and his production level was 120 eggs daily and increasing. Mr. Daniel recently expanded the brooding and holding areas and he is a major supplier of eggs to various establishments on Nevis. He imports his feed from Caribbean Agro Industries in Grenada.
Mr. Winston Hobson was named Fisherman of the Year 2006-2007. Like a few other fishers on Nevis, Mr. Hobson was trained in fishing gear technology, specifically with fishing of the Diamond Squid. However, to date he is the only fisher to use the technology and is the only Fisher on Nevis who has harvested squid from the island’s waters, a venture ha had reaped much success from.
Mr. Evelyn said Mr. Hobson had been a very consistent fisher and generally took advice from the Fisheries Department, had utilized fads primarily in fishing of the pelagic species. He planned to get involved in pot fishing in the near future.
In addition Ms. Avonelle Warner received a plaque for the Most throughput at the Abattoir for 2006, Mr. Winston Hobson for being the Most Moderanised Fisher for 2006, Mr. Donald Daniel for the Most throughput at Marketing for 2006 and Mr. Vincent weeks for his services to the Beekeepers Society. Mr. Relston Tyson was named special Honoree for 45 years of service to the Department of Agriculture.
A number of other staff members were honoured for their contributions to the Departments of Agriculture, Fisheries and Cooperatives.