PS hails Development Bank’s role in development of Agriculture in Nevis

Ms Sherma Richards being interviewed by the acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Nevis Island Administration, Mr Eric Evelyn.

Charlestown, Nevis (April 15, 2013) — Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Nevis Island Administration, Mr Eric Evelyn has said that as the ministry embarks on taking agriculture to a higher level, he was pleased that the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis was supporting farmers in form of affordable loans. Mr Evelyn made the remarks on Friday April 12 at Morning Star during the opening of a retail outlet by leading horticulturist Ms Sherma Richards whose farm, Sherma Garden and Nursery, is located at Matchman’s in Gingerland from where she sells to her clients.

Ms Richards is a client of the Development Bank which funded the purchase of the land at Matchman’s. “Sherma has been in the horticultural business for some time now and she is relocating her shop to Morning Star,” observed Mr Evelyn. “We in the Department and Ministry of Agriculture are trying to promote all aspects of agriculture.” On learning that Ms Richards owes her success in horticulture business to the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis, which would have given her loans after she was turned down by commercial banks, Mr Evelyn said that the Development Bank has done a tremendous job over the years in terms of assistance to farmers. “They (Development Bank) have done quite a bit of marketing and they have done some of it through our department and some of it, of course, on their own and I think quite a bit of our farmers on Nevis would have benefitted tremendously from the loans that the bank would have afforded them and at good repayment plan and good interest rates,” said the Acting Permanent Secretary.

The beauty of flowers: Present during the opening of Sherma Garden and Nursery outlet at Morning Star, from left, Pastor Bernard Browne of the St. John’s Pentecostal Church, Mr Eric Evelyn, Ms Sherma Richards, and Mrs Alexa Pemberton.

“In terms of the development of agriculture on Nevis, I think the Development Bank has played a very significant role, and of course we at the Ministry and the Department of Agriculture we are pleased that at least this bank is there that farmers, backyard gardeners can go to and get some assistance in terms of soft loans at good interest rates.” He observed that if agriculture was to move to a higher level, then more farmers could upgrade their operations and become commercially oriented by taking advantage of interest free loans the Development Bank is offering to farmers and fishers, advising that repayment terms were consistent with individual farmers’ earning from their operations.

Ms Richards explained that it was through her grandmother that she appreciated working on the land, which led her to start growing ornamental flowers as a hobby. However, a loan from the Development Bank enabled her to buy a large piece of land, and after repaying that loan she would have been advanced another two loans that solidified her business, from where there is no turning back. Asked by Mr Eric Evelyn if she has any regret for having ventured into the horticultural business, Ms Richards said: “None whatsoever. I am relocating here because the economy and everything has grown. Where I was at Matchman’s people can’t see me, so I came out to Morning Star so I can get more business. I will be more visible now.”

Flashback to 2011 when Ms Sherma Richards was honoured by the Development Bank. She is seen on the right receiving her award from Ms Rubie Taylor, Deputy Chairman, Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis.

Witnessing the opening of Sherma Garden and Nursery outlet at Morning Star was Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis’ branch manager for Nevis, Mrs Alexa Pemberton, who described Ms Richards as a model client. Ms Richards was one of the several top clients, and four from Nevis, that were honoured by the Development Bank in 2011 during its 30th Anniversary celebrations. “Sherma has moved to a new location at Morning Star, right on the Island’s main Road and it is an ideal location for her, much better location than where she was,” said Mrs Pemberton. “Initially she was all the way down Matchman’s Road, but now she is on the Island Main Road, which is a high traffic area and she would get more people to see what she is doing and more customers to come in and buy.”

The Nevis branch of the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis has followed and worked with Ms Richards as she progressed from having just a few variety of plants in a small area at Old Manor Estate, to buying her own land almost an acre at Matchman’s where most of it is cultivated and has her potted plants, and now to opening an outlet at Morning Star, making it easier for more clients to access, see and enjoy the beauty of the plants and flowers she has to offer. “This moving to Morning Star is expansion of Ms Richards’ business,” noted Mrs Pemberton. “She will still be growing some of her plants out there at Matchman’s, but when it is time for sale, she will bring them to Morning Star to her outlet.”

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