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Countess of Wessex opens 54th Annual Agriculture Show

Front Pages 22 Feb, 2023 Follow News

Countess of Wessex opens 54th Annual Agriculture Show

The Countess of Wessex and Premier Panton talk to one of the vendors about her wonderful Cayman-made sauces

Her Royal Highness the Countess of Wessex rang the cowbell to officially open the 54th Annual Agriculture Show

The Countess of Wessex got to see some of the fancy breeds of chicken with Agricultural Society President George Smith, while Premier Panton, Minister Ebanks and Wife of H.E. the Governor, Elizabeth R

Her Royal Highness the Countess of Wessex is shown some of the West Bay Heritage Committee displays by Ezeithamae Bodden

The Countess of Wessex met with the proprietor of Primitive Greens, a container farm

The Countess of Wessex stopped to talk to Marcie Ann Hydes about her traditional silver thatch work.

The Countess of Wessex met with Sandy Urquhart, Chief Operating Officer of Beacon Farms

George McLaughlin and Jenny Linwood, with all their produce and their speciality - deliciously refreshing tamarind juice.

Inside one of the big tents, where the vendors sell fruits, vegetables and homemade crafts

After two years of COVID-19 -related disruption, the 54th Agriculture show was back to its former glory and thousands of people came to see the spectacle. Adding some royal grandeur, the Her Royal Highness the Countess of Wessex rang the cowbell, declaring the show open.

She was joined onstage by the Hon. Premier Wayne Panton, Agricultural Society President George Smith, and Minister for Planning, Agriculture, Housing and Infrastructure, Hon. Jay Ebanks.

Premier Panton, Mr. Ebanks and Mr. Smith escorted the Countess on a tour of the show, beginning at the livestock exhibits where Mr. Smith explained what the Society was doing to help Cayman's farmers.

She was very interested in all the fancy breeds of chicken, and stopped several times as Mr. Smith pointed them out. Next she came inside the Pavillion, and stopped to chat with vendors. The Countess was particularly interested in an amazing array of locally-made sauces, and afterwards an official came to buy some for her. Then she went on to meet with Eziethamae Bodden of the West Bay Heritage Committee, who showed the Countess some old documents and photographs.

Outside in the bright sunlight again she met Sandy Urquhart, Chief Operating Officer of Beacon Farms who had two of the ground-breaking farms' amazing pieces of machinery on display. The farm provides jobs for people who are in recovery from substance abuse, and is also making huge strides in mechanisation, using a rock-crusher to help pulverize rocks, and make new, deep rich soil for Cayman's farms.

She also spoke with the proprietor of Primitive Greens, a cutting-edge concept container-farm that is fully enclosed, and works by hydroponics, before chatting with some of the pest control personnel attached to the Department of Agriculture.

in a written speech, Mr. Smith said, “I encourage our farmers to stay on course and our people to embrace the agricultural opportunities here in the Cayman Islands because more could and should be done. Remember, supporting local agriculture is a commitment to sustainable agriculture where resources are being stretched and exhausted to an un-expandable limit world-wide, so let’s strive for all that God has made possible for us here."

Minister Ebanks said, “The Ministry of Planning, Agriculture, Housing and Infrastructure and the Department of Agriculture have been providing support to the Society and our agri producers in several areas including policies, funding, technical assistance and training to further develop the sector. It is also o our intention to finalise the draft Cayman Islands Food and Nutrition Security Policy in the coming months so that we will have a framework to make the Cayman Islands a food and nutrition secure country."

Premier Panton said, "As Minister for Sustainability and Climate Resiliency, I recognise the value of showcasing and encouraging the growth, purchase and use of local fruits and vegetables. As we work to increase our local food supply and methods of sustaining it, we are always open to new ideas to diversify our food sources. Raising awareness of the fantastic farmers across our islands – their work and dedication – is central to boosting the importance surrounding food security and preserving culinary tourism."

By Christopher Tobutt

See the full story with all photos in our Wednesday March 1 Edition


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