NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS — The Nevis Island Administration’s (NIA) clarion call for greater food security for Nevis has resulted in an increase in crop production over the past year.
During his presentation at the July 02 sitting of the Nevis Island Assembly, Deputy Premier and NIA Minister of Agriculture Hon. Alexis Jeffers also spoke to the upward trajectory of crop production, lauding it as an important accomplishment in the agriculture sector.
He revealed that comparative statistics for April-June 2019 compared to April-June 2020 show increased production of several key crops.
Tomato production increased by 5.9 percent, going from 17,950 pounds in 2019 to 19,000 pounds in 2020. In 2019 6,200 pounds of peppers were produced compared to 8,400 pounds, an increase of 35.48 percent, while production of lettuce heads increased by 10.2 percent, to 8,640 heads.
Even greater increases in yields were seen in melons, squash, and sweet potato.
In 2019 9,500 pounds melons were produced compared to 26, 200 pounds by June 2020 – an increase of 175.79 percent and squash production increased by 76.44 percent over the comparative period (4,500 pounds to 7,940 pounds).
The largest increase in output came from sweet potato production which saw a 618.75 percent increase, rising from 640 pounds in 2019 to 4,600 pounds in 2020.
It was also noted that pumpkin production decreased by 53.8 percent, falling from 45, 900 pounds in 2019 to 2, 200 pounds in 2020.
Hon. Jeffers said in terms of land preparation for agricultural purposes, in 2019 8. 07 acres were cleared compared to 27 acres in 2020, an increase of 234.57 percent.
He asked the public to recall that the NIA had championed food security as an urgent response to the COVID-19 pandemic and announced a host of concessions aimed at stimulating greater food production in Nevis.
Premier of Nevis Hon. Mark Brantley commended the Minister of Agriculture and sector stakeholders for the boost in crop production.
“We are definitely on a good path for greater food security and I salute Deputy Premier Jeffers and his team as well as our farmers both commercial and backyard who have responded well to the challenge,” he said.