Nevis Island Set To Revive Cotton Production

CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (January 12, 2007)
Agriculture officials on Nevis are optimistic that the revival of cotton production on Nevis will bring large monetary returns for the island.
 
Dr. Kelvin Daly, Director of Agriculture in the Nevis Island Administration said in an interview with the Department of Information on Thursday January 11, 2007, that a Japanese interest had indicate its willingness to pay US$8 per pound of Sea Island Cotton lint.
 
“We will be producing cotton strictly for the export market. The wholesalers who came to us are the largest users of Sea Island Cotton in the world. Co-operative West Indian Sea Island Cotton Japan Project visited us and they met with the Minister of Agriculture Hon. Roberto Hector, the Permanent Secretary Mr. Pearlivan Wilkin, the Deputy Director Mr. Keithley.  Amory and myself and their interest is quite vast. They are looking for any quantity of a container load. So we are looking to produce at least 100,000 pounds of lint,” he said.
 
According to Dr. Daly, Nevis had produced cotton for the export market in the past but production was phased out due to the lack of manpower and the high cost associated with production. Notwithstanding, he encouraged farmers who had been involved with cotton production in the past to consider replanting cotton to take advantage of the lucrative market the crop offered Nevis.
 
Dr. Daly said the Department was pleased so far with the intense interest that the prospects of cotton production had generated among farmers, many of whom had verbally indicated their intension to begin planting once the seeds became available later this year.
 
He explained that the Department of Agriculture had planned to be in contact with the seed suppliers by the end of January to have the seeds on Nevis well ahead of the planned August planting schedule.
 
Government’s preparations for cotton cultivation are already in motion and according to Dr. Daly, approximately 30 acres of land had been cleared at Indian Castle, with an additional 30 acres to be cleared at New River.
 
With the first harvest expected by mid 2008, the Agriculture Official said the Department had also factored in the extent of the manpower necessary for the labour intensive cotton picking.
 
“The harvest will be so large that most likely we will be employing persons on the side also and I promise them a fair price for their labour. I know in the past people were getting next to nothing for it but we will pay a fair price for picking the cotton”¦
 
“The gin is operating, it has been dormant because there has not been cotton to gin but it is quite operative with little maintenance it can be up and running in a few weeks so we are looking forward to that,” he said.
 
According to Dr. Daily, the Department would phase out onion production which was labour intensive with little returns and replace it with cotton cultivation, though also labour intensive but with much better returns.
 
With the expectation of a bright future in cotton cultivation for the farmers of Nevis Dr. Daly said it was an exciting time for the development of Agriculture on the island and described the venture as a new and bold one into the massive production of cotton. He is of the view that persons would be pleasantly surprised of how wonderful the experience would be for the island.

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