NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (May 23, 2017) -- Members of the New River Farmers Cooperative (NRFC) were urged to utilise the unique characteristics that New River as a historical site offers and use it to establish greater linkages with others sectors of the economy of Nevis.

The advice came from Livingston Herbert, former Minister of Agriculture in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA), when he delivered the feature address at the opening ceremony of the Cooperative's second annual Open Day at New River on May 19, 2017.

He told the farmers one way in which they could link agriculture with tourism, health, culture and entertainment is to introduce farm tours.

"If we can set up our farms in such a way to encourage visitors to come, pay money and see what we have, in return, they learn something, they get a good experience and they would become great ambassadors for Nevis and for the New River Farmers Cooperative...

"Can you imagine what it would be like to have a tour of the sugar mill and the tour is ended and you are able to purchase a glass of cane juice or a joint of cane? Trust me, it is an 18th century experience in the 21st century. People will pay for that," he said.

Mr. Herbert believes that produce sampling during the farm tours, historical site tours on the estate utilising donkeys and the exercise benefits, offers the links with health, culture and entertainment.

He stated that many simple things could be done to help by the cooperative to maximise the profits of its members as entrepreneurs.

The former minister of agriculture, also urged the members to look for opportunities in the challenges they may face. He reminded them that diversification is necessary if they are to successfully establish links to sustain agriculture.

"To keep the agricultural flame alive, requires strategic and succession planning. It must involve members of the cooperative as the primary stakeholder. It must involve the government and the private sector.

"To keep the agricultural flame alive it must be fuelled by creative thoughts and bold initiatives that will enable us to utilise the resources... It is such thinking, such passion and a willingness to venture and work together that the agricultural flame will be kept alive and be lively," he said.

The Open Day was held with the theme "Keeping the Agricultural flame alive in New River", under the patronage of Gwendolyn Lawrence.

Among those present were Minister of Agriculture Hon. Alexis Jeffers, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Eric Evelyn, Director of Agriculture Randy Elliott and Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism John Hanley.

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