Sir Novelle Richards School Poultry Unit

The Agriculture Science Department in the Ministry of Education & Sports is very pleased to complete the construction of a Poultry Unit for the Sir Novelle Richards Academy Agriscience Department.  Being a new school and a facility that is still a work in progress all possible efforts were made in order for the construction of the pen to be a timely one. Since Agriscience is one of the sciences offered at the school, this unit was imperative and a priority.

One of the Agriscience teachers Mrs. Kandia Lee-Williams expressed the importance of practical or hands-on education that is crucial for both practice and means of motivation for the interested students.  “They have been engaged with the theory aspect of the subject but having the chicks and some practical work would be a motivation,” Lee-Williams said.   Twenty-five 9-day old broilers and later 100 layers will be cohabitating at this facility for several weeks.  The structure has a holding capacity of 600 chickens.  Also, the site will be used for the construction of a greenhouse and a hydroponic unit later in the year.

The structure and the delivery of the hatchlings were also in time for the fifth Form Agriscience Students Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) School-Based Assessment (SBAs) and they are expected to be the front runners of this project.  Students will be responsible for: feeding, providing clean water for the hatchlings, cleaning of the pens, composting the discarded materials, slaughtering, and collecting data.  Additionally, other students like those from Form 2 Star will also be engaged in some practical work in the Poultry Unit.  This opportunity would not only be an educational one but one that will appease their curiosity, especially for the first-timers being so close to hatchlings or involved in such a programme.   The three students selected with the task of replenishing the feed and water containers, Carla Vera Ortiz, Zamora Murray and Jamequie Phillip were elated that they were given the opportunity to do so.  “We are glad to be involved and are looking forward to doing our part and learning more about the chickens” said Murray.

The Ministry of Education would like to acknowledge and thank the Board of Education, National Solid Waste Management Authority, Ministry of Works, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries & Barbuda Affairs for their contributions.





Honourable Minister Samantha Marshall

CIBC First Caribbean celebrates female farmers

March 8, 2022: St. John’s, Antigua.  Breaking the bias was the theme as CIBC FirstCaribbean, Antigua celebrated International Women’s Day (IWD), 2022.


Three female farmers were celebrated and awarded with $5,000 each by the bank at a short ceremony attended by the farmers and Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries & Barbuda Affairs, Hon. Samantha Marshall.


Country Head, Ladesa James-Williams, said that the bank based its decision this year on an explanation of the theme on the official IWD website – “Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women’s equality. Collectively we can all #Break the bias. Celebrate women’s achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality.”


She said that in today’s Covid world, food production and food security have become even more important and our female farmers are playing a leading role in ensuring that we increase our food production.


“So, as we celebrate International Women’s Day, CIBC FirstCaribbean is honoured and privileged to be able to present $5,000 each to three of our top female farmers, Katyann Burnette, a poultry farmer; Erica Phillip, a crop farmer and Slyveneta Charles, a beekeeper. We trust that these funds will assist them as they continue to work for the benefit of all of us. It is even more commendable that our poultry farmer Katyann is just 19 years old. Congratulations.”


In her remarks, Minister Marshall congratulated the bank for recognising the importance of food production and security and for recognising the role being played by female farmers.


“As we observe International Women’s Say, CIBC FirstCaribbean is true to the theme – “Break the bias”, by rewarding and recognising our hard-working and dedicated female farmers. Hopefully, this will serve to inspire others.”


Crop farmer, Erica Phillip thanked the bank and added that the funds will assist her to expand her farm. At the moment her crops include cassava, papaya, pumpkins, sorrel in season, lemons and she is hoping to expand to more fruit crops.


Beekeeper Slyveneta Charles also thanked the bank and noted that beekeeping is growing in leaps and bounds in Antigua.


“ We received funding from Integrated Health Outreach and the Beekeepers Association was able to host two workshops. The first one graduated 29 women and the current one, which is ongoing will graduate a further 31 potential beekeepers.”


Poultry farmer Katyann Burnette also thanked the bank for its wonderful gift and noted that at the moment she is only rearing layers but hoped to expand to broilers or meat birds.


Members of the CIBC FirstCaribbean will tour Erica Phillip’s crop farm at Orange Valley on Thursday to get hands-on experience of farming.



Fruity Tuesday

Remembering Sherma Jackson

18th August 2021

Ministry of Agriculture mourns the loss of one of its most dedicated workers


The mood at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Barbuda Affairs is somber today (Wed), as it mourns the loss of one of its hard working staff members.

Sherma Jackson who was a Field Labourer passed this morning after a short illness.

She was 37.

Her Supervisor Mrs. Maudevere Bradford, in reflecting on her invaluable contribution to agriculture, said that Jackson was a Labourer at the highest scale of the Field Labourers.

“A very hard worker who was always consistent with her duties. She could have been relied upon to complete any given task in a timely manner without supervision,” Bradford recalled.

Jackson also excelled in a number of training programmes at the GARD Center and emerged at the top of the class in a programme held a few years ago.

Former Extension Officer –Administration, Mr. Sereno Benjamin was extremely proud of her achievement.

Jackson was also a top performer at a training course in Biogas that she attended in China in 2019.

Biogas is a renewable fuel produced by the breakdown of organic matter such as food scraps and animal waste.


Jackson was also very fond of organic agriculture and played a lead role in the management of the Vermiculture bin at the Experimental Station in collaboration with IICA.

She became ill in March this year, after she was seconded to CARDI to assist in field work activities.

She worked along well with Dr. Greg Robin and Bradbury Browne in the sweet potato characterization project done by CARDI in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture.

Bradford who has kept in touch with Jackson throughout her illness,  fondly recalled, “ I spoke with her almost every day and she told me one day to buy her a pink dress and a pink converse sneakers because she wants to go to a party . Her last request was for me to buy her a diary with rainbow coloured pens. I spoke with her last night, she was hearing me, and they said she was responding but she was so too weak to let the words out. I told her to walk well and sleep well as she was tired.”

The Management and staff of the Ministry of Agriculture express sincere condolences to the family of Sherma Jackson and her contributions and passion to the growth and development of the agriculture sector will always be remembered.