Charlestown, Nevis (April 4th 2017)-Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture in Nevis, Eric Evelyn, has described monkeys on Nevis as a “massive problem” for farmers. In their Efforts to combat the problem the CCM Led Nevis Island Administration has embarked on a programme to bring some relief to farmers who have long been plagued by monkeys.
Deputy Premier of Nevis Hon. Mark Brantley used social media to introduce nationals to Vernon Gibbs Hall. Hall is a primate expert who is visiting Nevis to assist the island with the “monkey” problem .
“Today I had lunch with Vernon Gibbs Hall, a primate expert, who has been tasked by Minister Jeffers and the Ministry of Agriculture to bring some relief to Nevisian farmers and households from the monkey problem plaguing the island. This CCM led NIA committed to deal decisively with this problem and has embarked on an ambitious program to do so. It was a most educational experience,” said Minister Brantley
Brantley went on to explain and give some insight into the programme being undertaken and pursued with the guidance of Gibs-Hall.
The Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs said “The approach being taken among other things is to cultivate alternative feeding habits for the monkeys. So feeding stations well away from farms and residential areas have been set up and these are replenished at intervals. The idea is that if the monkeys can find food at such feeding stations then they are less likely to forage for food in inhabited areas or at local farms. I was told that this is going extremely well with the support of local hotels, farmers and restaurants who provide expired fruit and scraps to replenish the feeding stations. Additionally, fruit trees such as mangoes, pawpaw etc are being replanted in the mountains in a reforestation effort to provide natural food sources for the monkeys in their usual habitat. Nevisians will remember that monkeys started coming closer to us when Hurricane Hugo devastated the forests in the mountains in 1989 wiping out their food sources. Shortly a capture spey and neuter campaign will start to retard population growth over time. Farmers in Cades Bay have also been provided with electric fencing to guard against monkeys. While tourists love to see monkeys, feeding them is a major negative as this encourages them to seek food closer to human populations. I left feeling very encouraged that the NIA has the absolutely right approach and Mr Gibbs Hall is the right expert to finally dealing with this problem in a humane way. The fix won’t happen overnight but if we stick to the well thought out plan Nevis will over time get much needed relief.”
Permanent Secretary Evelyn indicated in an earlier media release that Gibs-Hall assistance was made possible by an ex-pat and that he was assisting the ministry of agriculture in dealing with the monkey problem.
“We have a consultant here from South Africa who has been working with us for the past year or so. He’s been here on a contract thankfully to the good services of an ex- pat who has a home here and who came and saw the problem we have with the monkeys,” said Evelyn
Despite the challenges posed by monkeys, Evelyn indicated that many farmers were still able to produce enough of their crops to sell. Some have gone as far as to install electric fences the permanent secretary indicated.