NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS — The Ministry of Agriculture in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) will host Agrofest, an all-day event highlighting local farmers and their produce on March 26, 2021, at the Villa Grounds in Charlestown, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Mr. Huey Sargeant, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture during a visit to the venue on March 19, 2021, noted that the event with the theme “Eat locally; boost Immunity” which replaces the annual Agriculture Open Day, will be streamlined in keeping with the COVID-19 protocols.
“We understand that we are in the midst of the COVID pandemic and there are certain protocols that we have had to observe and the authorities which is the police of St. Kitts and Nevis [Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force] would have granted us permission to have this activity…
“We have to do this under very strict COVID protocols but still we are welcoming persons to come out and celebrate with us… Wear your masks. We have sanitising stations so we want you to come. We want you to celebrate. We want you to support our farmers,” he said, adding there would be light entertainment.
In relation to the theme selected, Mr. Sargeant explained that it took some doing to come up with one, due to the ongoing pandemic.
“We had quite a bit of debate in terms of coming up with a theme especially in light of our COVID pandemic.
“We want you to boost your immunity, and you know once you consume things that are produced locally it will boost that immunity. So in case the worst happens, we are sure once you consume locally you will be strong enough to fight off most and many things,” he said.
Mr. Sargeant stated that although patrons will not be required to pay an entrance fee, he called for patience entering the grounds due to expected delays because they will be required to provide their names, contact numbers and addresses as part of the COVID-19 protocols, in the event that they need to be contacted.
Mr. Steve Reid, Chief Extension Officer in the Department of Agriculture who accompanied Mr. Sargeant explained that this time around most of the booths would be for farmers to enable them to sell their produce.
He noted that eating healthy is something the Department of Agriculture in collaboration with the Ministry of Health are actively promoting and the local produce is mostly organically grown.
Apart from the health benefits, Mr. Reid underscored what he described as reasonable prices patrons can expect.
“We have a range of vegetables including our famous local onions. We will have sweet potatoes, we will also have pumpkins and in great quantity and very, very cheap prices. So individuals who are preparing for their Easter dishes could come and get it at a very reasonable price.
“We would also have the Abattoir here with their products whether its sliced or processed meats. We also will have the ornamentals here for those of us who are looking for fruit trees, ornamentals we will cater to that. So it’s basically similar to our Open Day. We will have a range of stuff at fairly great prices. The only difference is we would not be congested. We would have people coming and going in sequence,” he said.