Morris Hanley, left, one of 154 livestock farmers on Nevis receiving free animal feed with Hon. Alexis Jeffers, Deputy Premier of Nevis and Minister of Agriculture at Prospect.

CHARLESTOWN, Nevis – One hundred and fifty-four farmers on Nevis benefited from a donation of animal feed in a Nevis Island Administration (NIA)/Eastern Caribbean Group of Companies (ECGC) partnership, a gesture described as a show of support for the farmers.

The $33,000-valued gift of feed was distributed on July 15 at Prospect by Hon. Alexis Jeffers, Deputy Premier of Nevis and Minister of Agriculture. It was the result of a collaborative effort between the ministries of Agriculture; Finance and Trade, and ECGC.

In his remarks at the presentation ceremony, Hon. Jeffers expressed satisfaction with the cross-section of livestock farmers we have on the island.

“We have businessmen, we have taxi operators, we have the average guy who works in construction, and we also have persons who are in executive offices.

“It therefore means that you sought to add to your regular income something else that can be to the good of Nevis, and I want to thank you for your effort,” said Hon. Jeffers.

The agriculture minister spoke of the long-standing relationship Nevis has established with the ECGC, which is based in St. Vincent. The minister thanked the ECGC for over-the-years assisting Nevis farmers.

Hon. Jeffers thanked the manager and staff of the Abattoir and urged the farmers to continue to patronize the services offered at the facility, and to continue to purchase feed from ECGC.

Hon. Jeffers discussed a project for broiler production which the Department of Agriculture hopes to introduce to farmers on the island soon and expressed hope that they will embrace it.

“I am hoping when we start talking about broiler production, many of you may add that specialty to your operation. That will be an added means of income for many of you, an added product that we can offer to our consumers here on the island of Nevis,” said the minister.

The minister thanked the farmers for their support, and noted that the NIA, through the Ministry and Department of Agriculture, wanted to return the favour.

“We want to ensure that we reciprocate that support by providing you with all the necessary things that are needed to grow your business,” said Hon. Jeffers. We want to sustain you in this business so that agriculture can play the part that we know it can play here in the island of Nevis, more so the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis as well.”

Director in the Department of Agriculture Randy Elliott said the 825 bags of free animal feed is a show of continuing support for livestock far. He hoped it would help boost their production.

“We are pleased to state that 154 farmers are going to benefit from this feed,” said Elliott. “This is to show the continuing support and the confidence that the Department and Ministry of Agriculture have in our farming sector. It shows the support that we continue to push our farming sector especially as far as livestock and poultry are concerned.

“With this feed behind us we are hoping that the production here on the island of Nevis continues to improve, continues to get better, be able to become a little more self-sufficient in all that we do as it relates to livestock,” he said.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance Colin Dore, whose ministry was instrumental in securing the gift, told the farmers that the venture is a show of support by the NIA for the development of agriculture on Nevis.

“It goes a long way in showing that even with the difficult times the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Agriculture, and the Nevis Island Administration stand with you the farmers during this period,” said Dore.

“It is a partnership and,” he said, “our hope is that at some point in the future, as we continue to put subsidies into agriculture, some of it will resonate down to the buyers. As you reduce your cost of production, there should be some scope where you can reduce your cost to the final consumer of your goods and services.”

Also present at the ceremony were Huey Sargeant, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, who chaired the event; Floyd Liburd, Deputy Director of Agriculture, who delivered the Vote of Thanks; and Kelso Clark, Livestock Extension Officer, who invited God’s presence in the proceedings.