DIRECTOR OF AGRICULTURE OFFERS INSIGHT ON PEST CONTROL PLAN

Basseterre, St. Kitts, January 21, 2020 (SKNIS): The Ministry of Agriculture in St. Kitts and Nevis continues to grapple with solutions to the problem of invasive animals such as monkeys and wild pigs that wreak havoc on crops causing a heavy loss of income to farmers.

According to Director of Agriculture, Melvin James, the Department of Agriculture intends to create a task-force and construct monkey houses and electric fences to aid in controlling pests.

Mr. James said that with the composition of the task-force, “We will have farmer representative, persons also from the Department of Agriculture, [as well as] persons who are interested in managing these creatures.”

He said that it is hoped that the task force will serve to reduce the number of pests in the farming district.

“We think that there are several thousands more (pest) than ideal and so we are looking at multiple strategies,” Mr. James said.

“Some farmers will be assisted with what you call a sort of monkey house, where you build a structure using chicken wire or mesh that prevent them (the pests) from getting access to the crop,” he added.  “You can put high-valued crops inside there like seasonings and lettuce.”

The Director highlighted other prevention methods which include the construction of electric fences and scare-crows.

However, Mr. James said that although deterrence is a great option, “overall, we also have to reduce the population” of invasive animals.

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