BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, April 12, 2021 (DBSKN) — Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis is one of the institutions partnering with the Department of Agriculture on St. Kitts as the Department educates livestock farmers how to operate as business professionals, advising them that their job is more than just production and animal husbandry.
This is being done through a series of month-long training workshops that will help the livestock farmers understand the business aspect of their trade according to Mr. Miguel Flemming, Unit Head at the Livestock Production of the Department of Agriculture.
“We are having month-long livestock farmers training, so each week is a different group of farmers,” said Mr. Miguel Flemming on Wednesday last week, April 7, at the Conference Room of the Department of Agriculture in LaGuerite, Basseterre, where the evening sessions are being held. “Week one we are having small ruminants – goat and sheep production training, week two cattle production, week three pig production, and week four poultry production.”
The Department of Agriculture, according to Mr Flemming, had on Wednesday invited persons to make presentations on saving and investment, loan acquisition, business loan development, and developing business plans. He noted that they wanted to ensure that farmers don’t just learn about the production aspect and animal husbandry part of their trade, but also on how to operate as business professionals.
“What we want and I think this helps us to help them, is for when we approach the supermarkets and we talk in terms of consistency in production, farmers must have that understanding that it is more than just production,” noted Mr Flemming. “I think once they understand what the businesses feel, they would understand why their operating as professionals is important for these people who work with us.”
Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis was represented by Manager Small Business Unit Ms Kenisha Davis, Credit Risk Analyst Ms Loydene Bloice, and Marketing and Product Development Officer Ms Chantelle Rochester.
“The aim of partnering with the Agriculture Department was to inform farmers about the process of obtaining loans from the Development Bank,” explained Ms Bloice. “Development Bank has been working with our farmers and the message was to ensure that they are aware of the necessary documents and requirements needed to pursue this avenue. They were presented with pertinent information that we are looking for.”
Farmers were also informed about record-keeping for their business and given sample bookkeeping methods to record their income and expenses that any financial institution would be requiring. Additionally, the farmers were informed that the Development Bank has other resources available to them such as the Business Support Unit that assists them with drafting a business plan, managing the business and any technical assistance that they may need, and after one acquires the loan the Business Support Unit does follow-up visits to ensure that the business are on a good footing.
“The process is not a tedious one as many persons would think and simple solutions were given with how to improve their business along with ensuring they are managing their business properly,” explained Ms Bloice. “The Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis is ensuring that we follow our motto, ‘We make a sustained positive difference in the lives of our farmers’.”
The workshop was moderated by Dr Lesroy Henry, veterinarian in charge Animal Health. The other presenters were Mr Daniel Arthurton on cost of production, Mr Percival Hanley on financial management, more so on saving and investment, and Mr Delwayne Dalaney Project Officer at the Small Business Development Center who talked on how they can assist farmers in developing business plans, so they can approach the banks, and the Department of Agriculture, as the Department also asks for business plans.