NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (August 17, 2020) — Thirteen farmers have benefited from a $15,000 contribution from the Nevis Growers Association as part of the farming cooperative’s response to the economic upheaval due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The association’s president, farmer Mrs. Emontine Thompson, handed out 13 cheques to members during a ceremony on August 13, 2020. She said it was decided that farmers who had been impacted by COVID-19 require more help, in addition to the assistance given by the Nevis Island Administration over the past few months.
“When I look at the difficult times that farmers are having, when I think of the help we are getting from the Department [of Agriculture] that we really need–the seeds, seedlings, fertilizer–when I look from a cooperative point of view, I say these things are good but they take time to come in.
“You still have to put food on the table. You still have to pay your bills, so I said there should be something else that comes along with that assistance. You have to have something in your pocket,” she said.
Mr. Steve Reid Jr. Chief Extension Officer in the Department of Agriculture, and a member of the cooperative, said the assistance was timely as many of the farmers are facing back-to-school expenditure.
“We have bills to pay. We need food on the table. Some of us may have children who are soon to turn out to school and need books and bags. We have to live, and so Nevis Growers has found it fit to help you in your pockets. They’re not telling you what to do with [the money]. They know some of you may have taken loans and invested on the farms and it takes time to get back, but meanwhile you have to live. The hope is that you put it to the best use,” he said.
Randy Elliott, Director of the Department of Agriculture, said the Department and Ministry of Agriculture highly commends the initiative, pointing out that it is an example of the benefits of joining a cooperative.