Basseterre, St. Kitts (CUOPM) – After losing some 70 percent of its coconut palm due to a disease that decimated thousands of plants island-wide, the St. Kitts Department of Agriculture, has acquired over 3,000 plants and will soon begin a replanting programme to help keep jelly water vendors and craft makers in business.
“We have been on the losing end of a battle with the “Coconut Palm Complex.” A complex because an affected tree may be infected by The Red Palm Mite, Lethal Yellowing and Bud Rot Disease. More than 70% of the coconut stock was lost to this problem. However, I certainly am and I am sure you would be happy to know that the Ministry of Agriculture has responded to this problem,” said Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Ashton Stanley.
He recently disclosed that the Department of Agriculture has acquired over 3000 coconut plants.
“Using the services of the GIS Unit, we have identified lands in the Shadwell Area (to begin with) for replanting coconut trees and additional lands will be identified island wide,” said Mr. Stanley.
He said that the Department of Constituency Empowerment in the Ministry has devised a livelihoods approach to sustainable replanting of the trees and persons who make their living from the coconut palm; the jelly water vendors and the craft makers will be major stakeholders in the replanting programme.
“The Ministry’s vision is that, those whose aesthetic and environmental sentimentalism are tied to coconut tree will also be a part of the replanting process. Therefore, we envision that the residents of Dieppe Bay in particular would be major stakeholders of the replanting process. We understand the attachment to Jelly Walk and as a result discussions are ongoing with respect to replanting the coconut trees in Jelly Walk/the White Gate Area. Importantly, major developers such as the White Gate Corporation and Kittitian Hill will play key roles in promotion of the new Jelly Walk project and edible landscaping programmes,” said Mr. Stanley.
The Department of Constituency Empowerment and the Ministry of Tourism will also ensure that the coconut replanting project is adapted by the green visitors to our shores with their Coconut Tree Planting programme – a major feature of the Inter Agency Sustainable Destination’s Management Committee.