Minister of Agriculture in the Nevis Island Administration Alexis Jeffers along with Permanent Secretary Eric Evelyn– recently toured five farms on Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands with Caymanian Agriculture Minister Hon Kurt Tibbetts.
Also in the tour party were Cayman Islands Acting Chief Officer Leyda Nicholson-Makasare and Department of Agriculture representatives Assistant Director Brian Crichlow, Plant Protection Officer Joan Steer and Agronomist Claudette McKenzie.
The group first visited fruit orchards owned by the Cayman Islands Agriculture Minister Hon. Tibbetts, before travelling on to a number of other farms including Livestock Farms
While there is a greatly increased public appreciation and demand for local organic produce and meats, challenges for local farmers in the Caymans as well as in St.Kitts-Nevis include competitive pricing officials noted. Another issue, and a common theme amongst the farmers, is a lack of local people willing to work on the farms. A problem which is also experienced in St.Kitts-Nevis.
Minister Jeffers noted that, while St Kitts and Nevis is smaller and less-populated than the Cayman Islands, the aim in St.Kitts-Nevis is to increase the production of crops and livestock as well as the use of greenhouses on their limited agriculture lands.
For its final call of the day, the Nevis group visited the Cayman Islands Farmers’ Market at the Cricket Grounds in George Town, which is the latest venue for the popular “farm to fork” services now being developed on the local culinary scene.
Officials noted that the government continues to support the farming community, primarily through the Department of Agriculture, in ways that range from scientific research and technical assistance, to direct grants and the importation of new breeding stock.