Nevisians to benefit from private owner initiative in agriculture

A View From Tower Hill
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By Monique Washington

Over one-square-mile of land at Tower Hill, which is owned by a private resident, will soon see new crops, rare animals and jobs for the people of Nevis.

Last week, Anne Bass, gave The Observera brief overview of her plans the land and how it will benefit farming, livestock and the Nevisian community.

“I would like to make the land more of what it was meant to be before it was abandoned,” Bass explained. “When we first came here and saw Tower Hill I thought it was abandoned. I don’t think the pastures were maintained. They used to have a large heard of cattle there, there are remnants of this all over now. Tower Hillwas once covered in coconut trees then lethal yellow came in.”

Bass said plants and coconut trees not prone to the lethal yellow disease havealready been planted.

Julian Lethbridge,alsospoke with The Observer, explaining that one of the main purposes of the Tower Hill project is to “reestablish agriculture and farming as a viable economic activity with sustainable jobs on Nevis. So that it can become a very serious industry for making food for the hotels, you can export it, you can do all kinds of things.”

Lethbridge said the soil on Nevis makes crops easier to grow compared to other regions.

“The climate and the rain are great,” Lethbridge said. “It is the perfect place to grow things.The land used to be so prolific from the soil,she (Bass) would like for that to return for the wealth of all Nevisians.Itwould help the economy and it would support a large part of the population.”

Bass pointed out that the land has already been cleared.Plans are underway to begin testing crops to find out what works best for the climate and soil in Nevis. She said the farm will first be run in a laboratory stage and progress from there.

According to Bass, professors from Earth Universityhavevisited the Tower Hillpropertyto determine what crops will thrive more on the land. Once that is done local farmers will be shown how to plant crops, what crops work best and how to develop their own lucrative businesses.

“Other persons will learn from the Tower Hill farm,” she said.

In addition to the crops, Bass has a special interest in saving certain breeds of cows fromextinction. She said dairy cows willmeet production criteria with the goal of developing dairy production. Locating appropriate breeds is still in the works.

“We are first looking for cows that it are the most economic and productive and useful and then making cheese and milk and having a diary,” Lethbridge said.

Bass noted it is importance to continuing a relationship with the Agriculture Department.

“It is very important to me to keep the relationship going with government because they have experience in all of this, they also know what is needed and what the problems are, the monkey of course,” Bass explained.

She said the way to combat the monkey problem is to erecting a monkey fence on a large portion of the land so crops are not damaged.

Bass is looking forward to the Nevisian students at Earth University completing their studies and said if they want, they will have jobs with her. She said 75 percent of graduates from Earth University now own businesses.

“I look forward in having them work for me, because they have learned a lot at the university and will be great employees,” she said.

Bass said at present she has 35 permanent employees both at Tower Hill and her other residence. She said progress at her Tower Hill site will require her to hire more help.

“Right now we are taking it in stages,” she said. “Tower Hill will be a working farm. We are trying to find things that can successfully create real businesses,real industries and real jobs on Nevis,” Lethbridge concluded.

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