Reducing monkey problems is priority for Ministry of Agriculture, says Minister Hamilton

Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 14, 2015 (SKNIS)—Minister of Agriculture, Honourable Eugene Hamilton has placed the monkey problem facing farmers a top priority in his ministry due to the serious effect it is having on the sector.

The monkeys in St. Kitts and Nevis have retreated from the mountains onto the plains destroying farmers’ crops and produce. Wild pigs are also a threat to the farmers, the minister noted.

“We have decided to do some entrapments…the Ministry of Agriculture has sought to join with persons who are already trapping monkeys and over the next year or so there will be a concerted effort to reduce the level of the population of monkeys out there. We believe that we can reduce it by at least a hundred, maybe to 200 per month and give the farmers a breather in growing their crops,” the agriculture minister said on the Government’s radio programme “Working for You.”

Minister Hamilton also identified two other threats affecting agriculture: the challenge of inadequate water supply due to the prolonged drought affecting the entire Caribbean and lack of human resources. To deal with the water problem, the minister said more dams will be built near farms so that farmers can have water even if there is no rainfall.

“It is true that if there is no rainfall the dams themselves would go empty. But whatever period we have for rainfall we are hoping we can trap enough water so that the farmers can get benefit from it,” Minister Hamilton said.

To deal with the human resources problem, Mr. Hamilton is resorting to the involvement of youth in agriculture, primarily from the schools.

“There is a youth agriculture group headed by (Stuart) Versailles and some other youngsters. It is a joy to see youngsters being excited about being involved in farming,” Hamilton said.

He assured that work is being done assiduously to ensure that these threats to agriculture do not remain a threat for too long.

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