NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS – As the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) continues its thrust to advance agriculture and greater food security, a containerized poultry production plant has been acquired for the purpose of establishing a broiler chicken industry on the island.
The Ministry of Agriculture expects that this plant, which will be used to process the birds, will arrive on island during the first quarter of this year.
Premier of Nevis, Hon. Mark Brantley spoke on the matter during his monthly press conference on January 26, 2023, noting that the equipment was acquired at approximately US$260,000.
“The Ministry is moving ahead with this project and is in the process of procuring a turn-key processing facility with a capacity of processing 700 birds per hour. The equipment is expected to be on island within the next seven weeks and operational within the first half of 2023. That is a large number of birds that can be processed by this equipment.
“We are serious about developing this broiler industry and for us to have local chicken available to create an added string to the local economy and also to ensure that we cut back on the massive importation of chicken that we’ve had over the years.”
The Ministry of Agriculture has identified 60 acres of lands at Webb’s Estate in St. George which will be subdivided and made available to locals who are interested in pursuing the rearing of birds.
The Premier informed that the NIA is prepared to incentivize this new sector.
“We are inviting persons interested in broiler production, that is chickens for meat, to register with the Department of Agriculture as soon as possible. The contact person is Mr. Floyd Liburd…We have already identified lands for farmers and we will be offering a package of concessions to stimulate and encourage this new industry on the island of Nevis. So if you are out there and you’re a young person and you want to invest we are suggesting that this could be a good way to go.
“The model will be just as the meat industry that we have now, the government will have the processing facility, and farmers will be expected to grow the birds and bring them to the facility to be processed. This way we can ensure quality and ensure that what comes to your supermarket shelves is the very best quality chicken. It will be better, I assure you, than what we are importing.”
Efforts will also be made to encourage the development of a Hatchery on Nevis. This is important as the future of the poultry industry relies heavily on the availability of small chicks to replenish the stock of birds. Having the ability to provide locally sourced replacement birds on a regular basis will greatly add to the sustainability of the project.
Premier Brantley appealed to the citizenry to eat more locally grown food, which is healthier, cheaper and a means of generating activity for local businesses.
He thanked Hon. Alexis Jeffers, former Minister of Agriculture, for being the architect of the initiative. Deputy Premier, Hon. Eric Evelyn who now has responsibility for the Ministry of Agriculture, will see the project through the implementation stage and beyond.