Charlestown, Nevis – The Ministry of Agriculture in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) on Monday, January 15 revealed plans to advance the sector and increase food production on the island of Nevis in 2024.
The Ministry hosted its Agenda 2024 meeting at the Malcolm Guishard Recreational Park under the theme “Cultivating a Culture of Resilience for a Sustainable Nevis”.
Permanent Secretary in Agriculture Mr. Huey Sargeant said the theme reflects the commitment to food sustainability, resilience, and the promotion of ecofriendly practices in agriculture on the island of Nevis.
“Our key areas of focus include promoting farming practices that support natural ecosystems and the minimal use of external inputs; climate smart agriculture- complementing strategies that adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
“We also want to focus on local food systems- encouraging the production and consumption of locally grown food to reduce the dependence on imports, strengthen food security and support the local economy,” he said.
Director of Agriculture Mr. Randy Elliott outlined the Department’s vision for the year ahead, which aims to improve operations, encourage the adoption of safe farming and fishing methods, conserve natural resources, and develop resilient food production systems.
One area of focus for increased food production is estate and smaller scale farming.
“We zoned in specifically on nine crops that we believe the island of Nevis could be 90 to 100 percent self-sufficient in: watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe, tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, squash, pumpkin and green bananas.
“Some of these crops we are already at 90 percent self-sufficiency and we want to ensure that within this year we are able to accomplish that [100 percent], with additional work to be done on some other crops.”
He said the Department is hoping the Plant Propagation Unit will continue to focus on providing healthy seedlings to crop farmers, especially as it relates to various types of mangoes, avocados, and breadfruits.
During the Agriculture Agenda 2024 meeting Minister of Agriculture the Honourable Eric Evelyn, Deputy Premier of Nevis thanked staff at the Ministry and Department of Agriculture, farmers, fishers, allied Ministries and agencies in St. Kitts and Nevis, as well as regional and international partners for their contribution to the NIA’s goal of food sovereignty for the island of Nevis.
Also making presentations were Mr. Corey Maynard, Deputy Director of Marine Resources; Mr. Antonio “Abonaty” Liburd, Culturama Secretariat Executive Director; and Mr. David Walwyn, Fitness and Wellness Coach, who delivered a motivational talk to attendees.
Mr. Miguel Flemming, Permanent Secretary in Agriculture in the Federal Government and Ms. Sharon Jones, Technical Specialist (St. Kitts and Nevis) Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), were also in attendance.