(ZIZ News) — Farmers now have access to higher technology to improve their crop quality, and increase the volume of production and sales with the opening of a Soil Fertility Analysis and Pesticide Residue Detection Lab, the first of its kind in the region.
Director of the Department of Agriculture, Melvin James, said this type of facility is important to internal and external trading.
“As we embark as a country on free trade, open trade, two-way, it is very important that we have high quality produce. We must know the level of our security for trade and ourselves,” he said.
Andy Blanchette, Institutions Liaison in the Ministry of Agriculture, said with the facility now officially opened, farmers can have access to better their crop yields.
“Farmers can now officially can start to bombard the facility with their produce for testing and, at the same time, seek the advice of soil fertility technician as to how they can embark upon knowing the quality of their soil and what they can do to ameliorate any conditions. So at the end of the day, you would be able to enhance your production through higher yields and better quality,” he said.
The project also allows for farmers, once they pass the residue test, to receive a licence to show their customers that the products are acceptable.
Farmers can also get a sticker that can be placed either on the plastic that contains their product or on the product itself, in the case of larger commodities like the watermelon.
It is part of the Vegetable, Fruit and Upland Crop Quality and Safety Improvement Project; a partnership between the governments of St. Kitts-Nevis and the Republic of China (Taiwan).