The monthly meeting of the Economic Development Committee (EDC) was held on Thursday, 2 August 2018, and the following is a summary of the main items discussed:
Enterprise St Helena (ESH) delivered a report for the month of July. Nineteen registered businesses have signed up to the digital marketing financial incentive, whilst the Tourist Office continues to work with the Brighter Group on a list of international online booking sites for accommodation.
The Farmers Market & Social at Harford Community Centre was a success with over 14 stalls and an attendance of over 200 members of the public. This event marked an elevation of the 2018 Agriculture Programme and momentum is now escalating for the finale event � the Country Fair in October. Promotion has commenced and early entries for various prized-categories are being logged. It is hoped to revitalise the Farmers' Association with a meeting scheduled in August in an attempt to create an active association to move the sector forward.
The Pack House at the Longwood Enterprise Park is now up and running with the shop open from 8am-2pm on Thursdays and from 8am-12noon on Fridays.
The Pilot Project for potential assistance with enabling the upskilling and attainment of potential equipment, to enhance conditions for the throughput premium tuna, is currently being drafted for consideration in August. In addition, ESH anticipate the receipt of a proposal from SHG/St Helena Fisheries Corporation for a contribution towards the cost of adverts/advertorials to further enhance the Fisheries Investor opportunities for the Island.
ESH continue to progress recruitment procedures for a TC-funded Business Advisory Support that will sit within the ESH Business Development Team. This resource will be available to local commercial entities, strengthening and enhancing the services available.
There was an update from the Agriculture & Natural Resources Division (ANRD) on addressing the shortage of eggs on the Island. They have been looking at a range of options including:
Importing Point of Lay (POL) chickens � This was seen as an immediate solution as the hens would arrive ready to lay. Negotiations have been ongoing with AWSML and the South African authorities to use the new pens on the MV Helena. This remains an option, but is pending an outcome
Embryonated eggs � Importing fertile eggs then incubating them has been done several times before. The disadvantages are that facilities are required for incubation and rearing, only about 25% of the eggs will be hatched pullets, and the poultry will not be ready to lay for 19 to 23 weeks (three week incubation plus maturity)
Day old chicks � A plan is underway to import 1,000 day old chicks by plane. These chicks would be reared in the recently restored quarantine station in Rupert's for the statutory minimum of four weeks, and then distributed to the general public. Current preparations are to import on the 1 September flight, barring problems. The advantage is that they are relatively cheap, the incubation is done, and that all will be hens. The disadvantage is a delay of 16 to 20 weeks before laying, however once the Island is replenished with layers, this is seen as one way forward to keep the Island stocked
The option remains to import parent stock � either as POL, day old chicks, or embryonated eggs � so that pullet stocks will be replenished on-Island.
A new bio-secure source of poultry, used for some time by Tristan da Cunha, has also been identified in South Africa.
Finally, an initial draft of the Investment Strategy was presented to EDC. It was agreed that the direction the draft was going in was good, and the Government Economist and Financial Secretary will be undertaking more work to develop the details and practicalities for any new initiatives which will come into play as a result of the Investment Strategy.
Source: St Helena Government