Nevis farmland afflicted with hurricane damage may be getting a helping hand in bringing it back to productive life through the Federation Ministry of Agriculture’s new 20K Hurricane Relief Project aimed at replanting land ravaged by this year’s storms with cash and subsistence crops.
The official ceremony was held Wednesday at the Agriculture farm in Prospect. The project is funded by the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute CARDI, TDC,Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture IICA, Tropical Blossoms and the Ministry of Agriculture through the Nevis Island Administration .
The project was first suggested in October following the passage of hurricane Maria and Irma which would have damaged a number of crops through the island.
The project seeks to hand out 20,000 seedlings per month to farmers on Nevis. Seedlings offered are cantaloupe, cucumber, tomatoes, cabbage, lettuce, sweet peppers, melons, honey dew, squash. In addition to the seedlings farmer can also receive and poultry feed, fencing wire, bee hives drip lines, fertilizers, poultry feed and plastic film.
The Observer spoke with Director of Ministry of Agriculture, Randy Jeffers who noted that after the official opening they handed out 6-7000 seedlings. He said that the relief project is opened to all farmers on Nevis.
But Jeffers admitted the department began handed out seedling ahead of the official launch and so far
would have handed out more than 30,000..
“Most of the seedlings would take about three months before they can go to the market so we decided to hand out some early so the farmers market date would be earlier. We handed out about 24,600 before the launch”
Elliot said “over four months the Agriculture department will distribute to farmers 20,000 seedlings of different crops per month.”
IICA representative John King spoke at the launch and said, “We at IICA started to discuss with headquarters to see how we can support the countries in the rehabilitation effort. IICA is not a funding agency, we are a technical corporation agency. So when we look at countries that were hit by hurricanes or flood or whatever natural disaster we are going in the mode of rehabilitation and not relief,” he explained
He said that approximately EC $100,000 has been allocated assist farmers in St. Kitts and Nevis Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica post hurricane Maria and Irma. The project will run until February 2018.