St Kitts agriculture officials tour Cayman farms

| 29/02/2016
Cayman News Service

Cayman and St Kitts agriculture officials visit a greenhouse

(CNS): Agriculture Minister Kurt Tibbetts took visiting officials from St Kitts and Nevis on a tour of five farms on Grand Cayman, as Government maintains its focus on this sector following January’s Heroes Day event and this month’s Agriculture Show. Joining Minister of Agriculture Alexis Jeffers and Permanent Secretary Eric Evelyn from St Kitts were officials from Cayman’s ministry and department of agriculture.

The group first visited fruit orchards owned by Tibbetts, before travelling to Davy Ebanks’s farm, which emphasises leafy-vegetable production in a greenhouse. The tour continued on to Kent “Biggie” Rankin’s farm, which includes cows, pigs, goats and a limited amount of chickens. There, according to a government press release, it was noted that the advent of popular jerk stands (including Rankin’s) has stimulated the demand for these fresh meats.

At Harvey Stephenson’s Lookout Farm, the group saw some of his prize goats, as well as a variety of niche crops, from bitter melon, callaloo, avocado, pumpkin and spinach, to long beans, okra, eggplant and tomato. As a special sub-industry, the 35-acre farm produces about 150 gallons of coconut water each week.

The next stop, Patrick Panton’s farm, grows a combination of ornamental plants and edible crops in greenhouses and in open fields. It also raises hundreds of free-range chickens.

Despite increased demand for local organic produce and meats, officials cited the challenge of competitive pricing. In addition, farmers pointed to the lack of local people willing to work on the farms.

The St. Kitts and Nevis visitors said that while their country is smaller and less populated than the Cayman Islands, the aim is to increase the production of crops, livestock and the use of greenhouses on their limited agricultural lands.

For the last stop of the tour, the group visited the Farmers’ Market at the Cricket Grounds, which is the latest venue for the popular “farm-to-fork” services now being developed.

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Category: Agriculture

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