NIA focuses on innovation, resiliency, sustainability, to ensure agriculture’s future

Hon. Alexis Jeffers, Deputy Premier of Nevis and Minister of Agriculture, at the Cotton Ground Community Centre on July 23, at the first in a five-part series of NIA town hall meetings.
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CHARLESTOWN, Nevis — The Nevis Island Administration (NIA) continues to focus on three critical areas in its quest to increase agricultural production on Nevis.

Hon. Alexis Jeffers, Deputy Premier of Nevis and Minister of Agriculture, says innovation, resiliency and sustainability are key areas being used to ensure the survival of agriculture on Nevis.

Minister Jeffers was speaking at a town hall meeting at the Cotton Ground Community Centre on July 23, the first in a five-part series.

“Prior to March of this year, I have seen and I acknowledge as well that there has been an increased interest in farming, and we have supported from the Ministry and Department of Agriculture and we will continue to do so,” said the Deputy Premier.

“The numbers have proven that of course the Nevis Island Administration has continued to invest heavily in agriculture…but our main aim…is to continue to focus on three areas when it comes to agriculture, and those are: innovation, resiliency and also sustainability. That is how agriculture will survive in a small island like Nevis.”

Hon. Jeffers said there may come a time when the importation of food is interrupted and the impact of COVID-19 and its global effects has seen disruption in the food chain in many ways.

“Larger countries have been trying to feed themselves or their citizens, and so the quantities that they use from abroad are no longer available to us,” he said.

However, he said the NIA continues to invest heavily in agriculture to ensure the island’s food sustainability. He noted that the Ministry and Department of Agriculture continue to look for new ways and new areas to exploit.

“We have certainly done a good job of introducing shade house technology here on Nevis. We see quite a number of shade houses being constructed throughout the island…and new ones are coming on stream.

“In the area of resiliency, we talk of how we are putting the infrastructure in place to ensure we have proper storage of water that can be distributed to our farmers,” concluded Hon. Jeffers. “That’s where resiliency comes into play, and of course in terms of sustainability, we have to continue to train farmers and show them proper techniques in farming and introduce new techniques as we go, and ensure that the resiliency that we would have created, leads to sustainability as we go throughout the years to come.”

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