Mr. Augustine Merchant
June 09, 2008
The Nevis Growers Cooperative was on Friday June 06, 2008, the recipient of a cheque in the amount of $58 139.33 from the Canadian Fund for Local Initiative (CFLI).
The donation was a joint effort between the CFLI and the Inter-American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture (IAICA).
Minister of Agriculture in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) Hon. Robelto Hector, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Mr. Pearlivan Wilkin, Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA) Representative Mr. Augustine Merchant, President of the Nevis Growers Cooperative Mrs. Muriel Emontine Thompson, farmers and staff of the Ministry of Agriculture attended the donation ceremony.
The Minister addressed the gathering and shared his delight with the generous contribution made by the donors.
“I am one who feels and as a government, we have ensured that directed finances [go] to [the agro processors to] ensure that the agro-processing unit is realised. I am one who really feels that we are at that stage now when we can begin to explore our export potential,” Minister Hector said.
He also offered words of encouragement to the farmers to work towards the island’s food security.
“We must be organised, we must be growing from strength to strength, we must not be destructive. We must make sure that at the end, we are supporting each other and we are moving towards the general good of ensuring food security, not only for the island of Nevis but the Caribbean as a whole and that would be our contribution towards the global issue,” he said.Mr. Merchant spoke of his Organisation’s contribution to the grant and commended the Nevis Grower’s Cooperative for its efforts in securing it.
“The Inter-American Institute is pleased to be associated with the grant which was obtained by the Nevis Grower’s Association from the Canadian Fund for Local Initiative. I dear say, that our input, though small, was helpful but I would want to give high commendation to the president Mrs. Thompson and her advisor Mrs. Arthurton, who ably did the bulk of this work and put the project together. I think it was due to their initiative to a large extent why the grant was procured,” he said.
He also spoke of the co-operative’s initiative to encourage partnership between the tourism and agriculture sectors in Nevis and the rest of the Caribbean.
“The Nevis Growers Association which has been around from since the early 90s has made an invaluable contribution to agricultural development on Nevis. It is generally being recognised throughout most of the Caribbean that they were the pioneers, as it were, in this the efforts of Caribbean governments and farmers to strengthen the linkages between tourism and agriculture,” Mr. Merchant said.
He added that Nevisians would benefit greatly from the donation made to the cooperative in terms of food production and consumption.
“I think that this cheque would contribute significantly to the Ministry of Agriculture’s Food Security Programme and I dear say, that it should go a long way in ensuring that the people on Nevis are able to get food cheaper and in the desired quantity and quality,” he said.
Mr. Wilkin, who chaired the event, was grateful for the donation made to the cooperative and expressed gratitude to the donor.
“We want to thank the Canadian High Commission for their invaluable assistance rendered to the farmers of Nevis,” he said.