Regional Agriculture Officials Visit Nevis

CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (November 09, 2006) — Ministry of Agriculture officials on Nevis played host to a contingent of regional Agriculture and finance officials on the final day of a  two-day sub regional symposium. The event was hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in St Kitts from November 6-7, 2006.Dr. Kelvin Daly, Director of Agriculture on Nevis who welcomed the delegation, told the Government Information Service (GIS) on Thursday that the team visited a number of FAO funded projects on the island including the farms of Mr. Oretius Jones at Hamilton Estate and Mr. James David at New River. Both farmers had received assistance from the FAO in the area of preventing dog attacks on small ruminants.
 
While on the island the contingent also visited the Charlestown Marketing Office of the Department of Agriculture for a first hand look at the operations there. The Marketing Model in Nevis, according to Dr. Daly, is being used by the FAO as an example of how the link could be made between agriculture and tourism.
 
He termed it a “wonderful satisfaction,” which was confirmation that Nevis was doing something right. He said the model had raised the interest of several larger islands in the Caribbean including Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Dominica.
 
For the Nevis Marketing Office (Model) the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) provided a number of imputs including labour, marketing officers, transportation, resources to facilitate the sale of the farmer’s produce like cold storage, payment to farmers and the negotiations for prices on behalf of the farmers.
 
Meantime, during the delegation’s visit to Nevis on Tuesday November 07, 2006, Consultant and Head of the delegation Mr. Greg Rawlins who is the Manager of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (Caricom), CARIFORUM Food Securities Project who hosted the symposium, acknowledged that a number of the Organisation of East Caribbean States (OECS) countries and Barbados had a keen interest in the Nevis Model.
 
“We are here on the ground and also to see the Nevis Model in relation to how they have been able to link producers to the hotel industry, a model [that] a number of the other OECS countries have an interest in,” he said.
 
Notwithstanding, commenting on the symposium which included five participants from Nevis, Mr. Rawlins said, it provided an opportunity for the representative islands who attended to look at how they could encourage greater investment in agriculture with the objective of achieving greater access to food and for food security for all in the region.
 
“We looked at the whole issue of quality standards, we looked at how we could use value chains to effect the development of more commodities, we looked at policies and incentives [and] we looked at water, land resource use. We looked at a number of matters,” he said.
 
According to Mr. Rawlins, at the end of the symposium there was a recommendation to look at a number of key commodities and how they could actually develop a blue print for commercialisation for some of these commodities.
 
He said they recognised that very often they needed to take production past the primary stage right through the value chain, to processing to adding value and therefore the project would look at how they could do that and provide the information and a template that could be used by the private sector and others to commercialise certain opportunities that existed in agriculture in the region.

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