October 25, 2007
Farmers on Nevis were reminded of the importance of good agricultural practices to ensure food safety for all. The call was made by Director of Agriculture on Nevis Dr. Kelvin Daly at the formal opening of a workshop on Good Agricultural Practices on October 25, 2007, hosted by the Department of Agriculture in Prospect.
The workshop which was the final in a total of four hosted by the Department for 2007, was designed to assist farmers to become better and by extension to improve the farming culture on the island. Dr. Daly regarded the workshop facilitated by Dr. Felix Canet-Prades of Havana Cuba, an International Consultant of Food and Agriculture and an Auditor in Good Agricultural Practices as a timely exercise for several reasons. “The workshop this morning is very timely on a number of counts. Firstly we are looking at international and regional export and we are looking at more persons being concerned with safe food at home”¦
“I would say to you that food safety begins right here. Food safety begins at the farm, it is from you that everything emanates and spreads into the community whether inshore or offshore so it is critical that you on the frontline understand what is required of you in terms of food safety,” he said.
According to Dr. Daly, there were many aspects of food safety among them proper record keeping, personal hygiene, proper water usage, pesticide use, the use of manure and post harvest handling.
He told the farmers present that they should be vigilant and should be on the look out for improper practices by fellow farmers, which he said if went unchecked had the potential to threaten the entire agricultural industry on Nevis.
“We are asking you to be vigilant in your own operations and if you see your neighbour doing something wrong with regards to application of pesticides feel no way to ask him to correct it because we are all in the same boat.
“Be on the frontline, think safety at all times we try to do it here at Prospect (government owned farm) and we are asking you to do it at your own farms,” he said.
Meantime, chairman of the opening ceremony, Chief Extension Officer Mr. Walcott James noted that the Department of Agriculture had a responsibility to ensure that
It continued to inform the farmers through ongoing training like they had received over the past year and would continue to receive.
He said the training was in relation to worldwide concerns and precautionary measures and the time had come for the implementation of new agricultural practices so that Nevis’ products could be accepted at the international, regional and in the near future in the local market.
The training workshop also included a demonstration at the Prospect Agricultural Station on simple techniques of handling pesticides, herbicides and washing fruit and vegetables.