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VOL. 29 NO. 5


SEPT - OCT 2019



Jamaican Plant Pathologist found new pest in local coconut trees Page 5

Gassan Azan Investor Lakes Pen Agri-Ventures

Victor Cummings Project Manager Lakes Pen Agri-Ventures

Agri Gets $11 b Investment Project By Patrick Maitland Editor, The Agriculturalist


fter years experiencing weak capital investment and skyrocketing food import expenses, the Jamaican agricultural sector is to benefit from the injection of $11 billion aimed at producing a wide range of fruits and vegetables for the local and export markets.

The new investment project, called the "Lakes Pen AgriVentures," which was officially launched in Kingston last

Thursday, will bring 400-acres of prime agricultural lands into production at Lakes Pen in Bernard Lodge, St. Catherine. According to investor Gassan Azan, his new venture would establish a state-of-the-art agricultural development project that will cost $11 billion in two phases. The company plans to spend $9 billion in the first phase of the project, and another $2.2 billion in the second phase. It will directly employ 1,000 people in phase one, and an additional 350 people in phase two. Continued on page 13



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Azan’s $11 billion investment: A hope for Jamaican agriculture T

he planned investment of some $11 billion into the fledgling agricultural sector by the Gassan Azan’s Lakes Pen Agri-Ventures, is giving tangible hope to increased food production in Jamaica. After years of experiencing weak capital investment and skyrocketing food import expenses, the project is aimed at producing a wide range of fruits and vegetables for the local and export markets on just about 400 of the 120,000 acres idle government lands. It is a good look for the overall economy as investment in agriculture during the past two decades has been embarrassingly depressing, with more than 20 farms either closed down or significantly reduced operations. With food imports inching up to the US$1 billion marks and export agriculture moving below US$125 million, the closure of Golden Grove Estate, Victoria Banana,

Trout Hall Farms, St. Mary Banana Estate, Eastern Banana Estate, Moy Hall Coffee Farms, Elim Farms, and other farming operations, are not helping Jamaica’s growth agenda. Despite working tirelessly since 2016 to achieve a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of 5 percent over the next four years, the Michael Lee-Chin’s lead Economic Growth Council is already off target as the economy struggles at about 2 percent annual average growth. While there are several other factors contributing to the slow growth, in our opinion, the initiatives proposed by the council that were expected to yield economic growth, failed to stimulate investment in agriculture. The Economic Growth Council, JAMPRO, and the Agri Investment Corporation, need to shift focus on the new and emerging industries, including bamboo, cannabis, Sea Island cotton, hemp, castor

PATRICK MAITLAND Publisher - The Agriculturalist

bean, and coconut, along with orchard crops, such as mangoes. The business environment is perfect. However, there are several thousand acres of arable lands that remain idle, and the capital market is flooded with money for viable investment options. Nevertheless, despite the naysayers and the shortsighted developers who want to use prime farmlands to build houses, the Jamaican economy at this point cannot attain sustained growth without a strong agricultural sector. If we continue to abandon agriculture or put in place the reckless strategies, Jamaica cannot achieve increased economic growth. Therefore, with good management, Azan’s $11 billion investment is indeed a major hope for Jamaican agriculture. We commend Gassa Azan and his team for investing in local food production.

The opinions expressed in this newspaper, except for the above, do not necessarily reflect the views of The Agriculturalist and its publishers. Please send your comments or suggestions to Responses should be no longer than 400 words. Not all articles will be published.



Guyana - food basket of the Caribbean!

he time has now come for Guyana to become the food basket of the Caribbean and supply its USD 5 billion food imports. Becoming the food basket of the Caribbean would provide Guyana with complete food security and would give food security to the Caribbean as well. The Caribbean has always been a Region which lacked food security and two historical examples will illustrate this: the Caribbean islands– and in particular the British islands– depended on food imports from the British colonies in North America. When the American War of Independence erupted, the American colonies’ food exports to the Caribbean were almost ended and the Caribbean suffered great distress. Second example: after Emancipation and the emigration of a large proportion of the plantation owners and managers, food imports to Guyana were gravely curtailed and the freedmen had to fend for themselves and were forced to live on ground provisions and breadfruit; even this monotonous and slender food supply was sometimes affected by lack of rainfall and drought conditions. Now, with the oil revenues, the Agricultural Revolution could be seen on the horizon. The great investments which agriculture re-

quired to be modernised, expanded and to increase production and productivity are now becoming available and Guyana is at the threshold of becoming the food basket of the Caribbean and satisfying the Region’s food imports of USD 5 billion. During April last, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)’s Assistant Director General Dr Julio Berdegue visited Guyana because the “FAO wished to strengthen ties and collaborate with Guyana, given the unique role Guyana can play in agricultural development.” The “unique role” to which Dr Berdegue was referring was explained as: “The Caribbean faces the enormous problem of a food import bill which has been growing every year for the past 30 to 35 years. Right now, the Caribbean is spending USD 4.5 billion per year to buy food that can be grown in the sub-region and this will address the huge problem of food security and safety in the Caribbean Region.” To take advantage of this USD

5 billion Caribbean agricultural market, an agricultural improvement plan has to be formulated which would encompass introducing modern agricultural methods, different varieties, modern agricultural technologies and training. This investment in agriculture would derive from oil revenues. The new profitability, wealth and prestige which would be generated by agriculture would once again encourage young people to again enter the industry. Sugar and rice which have been the agricultural and indeed the economic backbone of the country for the last two centuries will also be revived into new prosperity. A burgeoning and profitable agriculture sector will inevitably birth value-added industries, some of the basic ones being, for example, rice wines, cereals and confectionery, various types of flours and oils. Many of these products could be exported to the niche markets of the developed countries. The large off-shore petroleum mining industry will certainly be

disturbing the fish habitats as happened in Trinidad, but this may be remedied in several ways such as inshore fish farming or relocating stocks. Successful efforts to preserve and save the fishing industry will depend on oil revenues being invested early in the industry. The issue of climate change should never be placed on the backburner, but must be addressed since the Caribbean Region, by 2030, will move to 1.5 degrees in higher temperature. This may imply relocating or growing crops elsewhere in the country. The new petroleum industry should not be allowed to dominate the thinking of policymakers to the disadvantage of agriculture. The petroleum industry is a finite one and

will diminish as deposits become exhausted as happened in Trinidad. Agriculture, on the other hand, is self-generating and would always be providing food and employment. Dr Berdegue’s advice is timely and relevant: “Oil and gas and agriculture can live together. . . We need modern regularisation and modern technologies to manage the space to make these different economic activities coexist in a less stressful and more mutually reinforcing situation.” If agriculture captures the Caribbean import food market, provides the Region with food security and at the same time expands its exports to other countries, Guyana’s prosperity would be ensured. Source:

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Jamaican Plant Pathologist found new pest in local coconut trees By Patrick Maitland Editor-The Agriculturalist new species of an insect which has not been found anywhere else in the world was discovered by recently by Dr. Wayne Myrie a Jamaican Plant Pathologist/Molecular Biologist at the Coconut Industry Board (CIB). He named this new insect Oecleus mackaspringii, 'Macka' from the word in Patois for thorn and 'Springii' from the area in which the insect was discovered, Spring Garden, Portland. A technical paper is currently being edited by Zootaxa and should be released


shortly. A team of scientists from the University of Florida, USA, is in Jamaica to collaborate on the on-field aspects of the research efforts. The lethal yellowing phytoplasma, the causative agent for the lethal yellowing disease in coconuts and other palms, was found in the salivary gland of the insect which places this insect as uniquely the potential vector for the lethal yellowing disease. This finding clarifies an area of research that was elusive since the 70s, as the vector of the disease remains unknown. Dr. Myrie noted that it was sometime in 2012, he found for the first time in Ja-

maica, Ambrosia beetle in coconut trees. The beetle was duly identified as Xyleborus ferrugineus. "The management practices that were implemented saved the coconut industry from decimation by this pest. We confined it to 15 areas, using management strategies developed right here at CIB and reduced the spread, and now it is no longer a problem. Similar problems are now being reported in Germany in forest trees from cousins of the Ambrosia beetle, the Bark beetle," the plant pathologist disclosed.

CASE Alumni gets a new president E

ducator and administrator, Pius Lacan, was elected president of the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE) Alumni Association during the organization’s annual general meeting held Sept. 21 at the Pegasus Hotel in Kingston. Lacan, who is currently the vicepresident of administration at (CASE), replaced Webster "Babylon" McPherson, who served for 11 years.

Other elected members of the executive committee of the CASE Alumni Association for the 2019-2020 administrative year are: 1st Vice President, Everett Hyatt; 2nd Vice President, Omar King; 3rd Vice President, Shamora Brown; Treasurer, Jairzenho Bailey; Asst. Treasurer, Yvette Betty-O'Connor; Secretary, Janique McKenzie; Asst. Secretary, Peta-Gaye Stewart; and PRO Sharmaine Cooper.

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Jamaica Broilers acquires US processing plant


Pius Lacan President, CASE Alumni Association

Let's grow

Dr. Wayne Myrie Plant Pathologist Molecular Biologist

he Jamaica Broilers Group Limited (JBG) as part of its expansion programme especially in the United States has finalised an asset purchase agreement with Gentry's Poultry Company Inc. The agreement, which was done through Wincorp Properties, Inc, a subsidiary of the JBG, is for the purchase of a poultry processing plant located in South Carolina, USA. As at September 18, Jamaica Broilers took over the day-to-day operations of the plant and will rebrand it as The Best Dressed Chicken. Gentry's Poultry carries a similar history as the Best Dressed Chicken division, having started in the 1950s as a family-owned poultry processing plant. Gentry's employs over 150 workers and serves retailers within a 200-mile radius of the plant in South Carolina.

Wright appointed Shadow Cabinet Minister for Agri and Rural Development O pposition Leader and President of the Peoples' National Party (PNP), Peter Phillips, on Oct. 2 appointed agronomist/soil scientist and Member of Parliament for Nothern Trelawny, Victor Wright, as Shadow Cabinet Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development. Wright, 45, defeated the Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP), candidate, Dennis Meadows, in the Feb. 25, 2016, General Elections. The Shadow Cabinet Minister attended William Knibb Memorial High, the College of Agriculture Science and Education, and Prairie View A&M University. His academic achievements include an Associate of Science Degree in Agriculture, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agronomy, and a Master's of Science in Soil Science. He is married with seven children.

Victor Wright, MP Shadow Cabinet Minister Agriculture and Rural Development



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NEWS Steady recovery in Sweet Yam production in Trelawny By OKOYE HENRY he Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) is reporting a steady recovery in sweet yam production in Trelawny. Speaking at the recent monthly meeting of the Trelawny Municipal Corporation, RADA Parish Manager, Courtney Taylor, said sweet yam production had declined in recent years due to the anthracnose fungus, which affects many plants, including vegetables, fruits, and trees. It also attacks developing shoots and expanding leaves, and can spread rapidly during the rainy season.


Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Audley Shaw (centre) is greeted by President, Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), Lenworth Fulton (right), just before the start of at a press conference at the JAS's Kingston headquarters on September 11. Looking on is Trade and Markets Officer, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Juan Cheaz. -PHOTO: MICHAEL SLOLEY/JIS

UN Agencies to provide support on major agriculture projects By: Chris Patterson, JIS inister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Audley Shaw, said that the development comes out of discussions with representatives of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Two specialised agencies of the United Nations (UN) are looking to further collaborate with Jamaica on four major agricultural projects that are aimed at ensuring the sustainability of the sector. The projects are a national fruit tree planting programme; a national drip irrigation system; a crop insurance policy for small farmers; and a national home-grown schoolfeeding programme. “I got two letters… one from [Crispim] Moreira of FAO, the other from the head of IFAD; two positive letters from them. [They


are] ready to work with us in Jamaica,” he noted while addressing a press conference at the Jamaica Agricultural Society’s (JAS) Kingston headquarters, on September 11. “There are four things on the agenda [that] are fundamental to the regrowth and development of the agricultural sector in Jamaica and the value chain going upwards into the processed food industry,” he noted. Minister Shaw said that the FAO has developed a concept paper to assist Jamaica in the areas identified. “They have established systems globally where they can have models that they can work with; models that have succeeded. The preliminary models that are being made available, I have been told they have added money to it in order to give us more acceleration for the necessary research that must be done,” he indicated.

Minister Shaw noted that the four projects are critical because they not only address the production of fresh food but agro-processing as well. “So, you build the value chain… . It’s a major plan and I realise it is something that would require international support from organisations, many of whom have actually implemented these things already,” he said. Shaw said the Ministry is also looking to collaborate with other international agencies for the full implementation of the projects. The FAO leads international efforts to improve agriculture, forestry and fisheries practices, ensuring good nutrition and food security for all, while the IFAD is an international financial institution dedicated to eradicating poverty and hunger in rural areas of developing countries.

Shaw Meets With Red Stripe's New Managing Director and Team: Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Audley Shaw (2nd l), in discussion with new Managing Director of Red Stripe Limited, Luis Prata (1st l); Director of Corporate Affairs, Dianne Ashton-Smith (3rd l); and Local Sourcing Manager, Cavell Francis-Rhiney of Red Stripe Ltd., during an introductory meeting at the Ministry’s New Kingston offices, on September 5, 2019.

Courtney Taylor Trelawny RADA Parish Manager

Taylor said, however, that as a result of interventions under the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries (MICAF) Production and Productivity Programme, “we are seeing some improvements as it relates to [sweet yam] crop care”. “A lot of farmers, especially those who basically were out of production, are now [interested] in getting back into production because of what they are seeing,” he indicated. Taylor pointed out that with ongoing interventions, full-scale sweet yam production in Trelawny is expected in the next two years. Meanwhile, Taylor said the Production and Productivity Programme has been assisting Trelawny’s farmers with the production of five key crops — sweet yam, dasheen, pineapple, hot pepper, and Irish potato. Additionally, he said RADA has been training farmers in disaster risk management to enable them to better safeguard their cultivations. “We are being proactive as it relates to providing information to farmers… and that is something that is on the forefront at the moment,” Taylor stated.



SHAW ENDORSES CANEX JAMAICA: Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Audley Shaw (2nd left), along with (from left) CEO, Zimmer and Company, T’Shura Gibbs; President, JAMPRO, Diane Edwards; Founder of CanEx Jamaica, Douglas Gordon; and President, Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica, Howard Mitchell, at the media launch of the CanEx Jamaica Business Conference and Expo at the Spanish Court Hotel, Worthington Avenue, New Kingston on Wednesday, September 4. The CanEx Jamaica Business Conference and Expo will take place September 26-28 and is regarded as the preeminent cannabis conference in the Caribbean and Latin America. The event will feature advanced content on the regulatory legal investment and global medicinal landscape from experts from over 30 countries.

CLA issues 44 ganja licences, 288 conditional approvals


he Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) has issued 44 ganja licences and 288 conditional approvals since its establishment in 2015. Diane Edwards, President of Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), in making the disclosure, said that the licences granted include 21 for cultivation, 13 for

retail, six for processing, three for research and development, and one for transportation. She noted that the licences at the conditional approval stage are awaiting actions from applicants. To date, the Authority has received 658 applications from 287 applicants.

US House OK's protections for banks in states with legal cannabis businesses Washington, USA: he U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday that would significantly expand the access of the legal cannabis industry to basic banking services. While cannabis is legal in several American states, it is still outlawed at the federal level. Because many financial institutions are federally chartered and regulated, they are wary of handling money generated by or giving loans to state legal cannabis businesses. As a result, many cannabis businesses operate entirely in cash, which can create a public safety risk as an enticing target for criminals. “The SAFE Banking Act as approved in the House would prevent federal banking regulators from punishing banks for working with cannabis- and hemp-related businesses that are obeying state laws,” according to a statement from the National Cannabis Industry Association, which has backed the bill. “The bill would protect ancillary businesses that work with the cannabis industry from being charged with money laundering and other financial crimes, and requires the Financial Institution Examination Council to develop guidance to help credit unions and banks understand how to lawfully serve cannabis businesses,” the NCIA added. The Secure And Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act will now go before the Republican-controlled Senate. The bill aims to give clarification to banks and credit unions that serve cannabis companies. Currently, financial institutions face legal problems because ganja remains illegal on the federal level, even as more US states legalise it. Lobbyists have emphasized that many cannabis businesses end up operating largely in cash, and that makes them targets for robberies and other crimes.


Director, Research Development & Communications at the CLA Felicia Bailey, interacts with an attendee at CanEx Jamaica Business Conference and Expo.

CLA lauded by business tycoon


he Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) has been lauded by Canadian business tycoon, Bruce Linton, to have instituted one of the two best cannabis regulatory systems in the world. Linton is the co-founder and former CEO of the world's largest publicly traded cannabis company and Canadian multi-billion dollar giant, Canopy Growth Corporation. Linton, who was speaking at the CanEx Jamaica Business Conference and Expo in Montego Bay on September 28, listed the engagement of the Authority, its quickly working platform, social presentation and accessibility as reasons why he considers the regulatory operations in Jamaica as being one of the “top two in the world”.

Linton describes the system as a “halftwist on Canada’s system” but says the local Authority has made it much better. The Authority is an agency of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, and was established in 2015 under the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act, with a specific role to establish and regulate Jamaica’s legal hemp and ganja industries for medical, therapeutic and scientific purposes. Through its Licensing and Applications Division and Enforcement and Monitoring Division, the CLA ensures that applications are appropriately reviewed, licences are issued to suitable applicants and that licensees are held accountable to the terms and conditions of their licence.





Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Dermon Spence (3rd l), shakes hands with Consultant, Global GAP, Leonardo Ferrer Narvaez (1st l) at a Global GAP consultancy meeting at The Courtleigh Hotel in New Kingston on September 2. Sharing the moment is Project Manager, Essex Valley Agriculture Development Project (EVADP), Troy Chambers. - Photo: Mark Bell

700 Farmers in Essex Valley to Benefit From Global GAP Training By Ainsworth Morris, JIS even hundred farmers, who operate in the Essex Valley region of St. Elizabeth, will benefit from training towards enabling them to achieve Global Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification. The training is part of the Essex Valley Agriculture Development Project (EVADP), which aims to enhance the production and productivity of farmers in a sustainable, climate-sensitive manner, while improving their livelihood. Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Dermon Spence, said that Global GAP certification is critical to the growth and sus-


tainability of the local agriculture sector. The international certification was developed to ensure that farm produce meets required food-safety standards while minimising the detrimental environmental impacts of farming operations. Spence said that certification to the standard will make local farmers more competitive globally, thereby increasing the country’s agricultural exports. “We (Jamaica) cannot compete internationally without being fully certified,” he said at the Global GAP consultancy meeting at The Courtleigh Hotel in New Kingston on Monday (September 2).

“[I hope] that it becomes the norm that our farmers – big, medium and small – are certified and are in a place where they are prepared to take on the world and the national economy in terms of guaranteeing and ensuring that the … produce that we are consuming [is] safe, traceable and can stand up to quality scrutiny from anywhere around the world,” he added. The EVADP is being implemented through partnership between the Ministry and Global GAP. It is being funded through a grant from the United Kingdom Caribbean Infrastructure Partnership Fund (UKCIF), which is administered by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).

Mario Hamilton Jan 27, 1980 – Sept 11, 2019

JAS Parish Manager Killed


griculturalist and former parish manager of the Westmoreland Jamaica Agricultural Branch Society, Mario Hamilton, 39, was shot and killed by unknown assailants at his home in Whithorn on Sept. 11. He was a graduate of Knockalva Agricultural School and the College of Agriculture, Science and Education. He is survived by his mother, five siblings, two children and his girlfriend.

Owen ‘Ages’ Gilpin


he home going service of thanksgiving for the life and work of recently faded Owen "Ages" Gilpin (Class of 1973 JAS) will be held at The Holy Trinity Anglican Church, West Gate, Montego Bay,St. James on Saturday, October 26, 2019;commencing at 11:00 am.

Leebert ‘Grey Beard’ Taylor


Floyd Green (2nd left), Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, along with Nigel Myrie (left), Chairman, and Peter Thompson, Chief Executive Officer, both of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority, listen keenly to Everton Parkes of the Jamaica Dairy Development Board during a tour of its booth on October 1, 2019. The occasion was the opening ceremony for the 10th Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services held in Negril, Jamaica, under the theme 'Role of Advisory Services in Climate Change & Disaster Risk Management’.

eebert "Grey Beard" Taylor (Class of 1977, JSA) died on Thursday October 03, 2019 after losing a valiant battle with Prostate Cancer. Taylor was the consummate agricultural educator. He gave several decades of unstinting and dedicated service to the teaching of agricultural science at the secondary level. He served his final stint at the Sydney Pagon Agricultural school after which he went into retirement. Details on the home going service of thanksgiving for the life and work of recently faded Taylor will be publicized as soon as they become available.




Bayer stands behind Glyphosate in cancer lawsuits “It is open to a settlement if it is final and costs less than a legal challenge” By Gil Gullickson ayer is prepared to appeal recent glyphosate-cancer lawsuits that have gone against it. However, it may consider a settlement if the cost falls below the cost of going through a lengthy legal battle. Liam Condon, president of Bayer Crop Science, briefed members of the agricultural media this week at Bayer’s Future of Farming Dialogue in Monehim, Germany, regarding glyphosate lawsuits. So far, three California court multimillion-dollar verdicts have gone against Bayer, which are on appeal. The second one, for example, consisted of a California jury awarding the plaintiff $80 million in damages. A federal judge later reduced the award to $25.27 million. “There are two paths going forward that we are looking at in parallel,” says Condon. “One part is Plan A, going through the court system. Depending on how things play out, there may be multiple appeal levels, and it is possible it may end up with the (U.S.) Supreme Court. We are prepared to go through the entire court system. That could take many, many years.”


Plan B is a settlement. “In these types of cases, it usually makes sense to look at a settlement,” Condon says. “A settlement only makes sense if the cost of settling is lower than the cost of going through the court system and if it is final. There is no

point in settling, and then having lots of new litigation in the future. Regardless of which option works, the base assumption is that it (glyphosate) remains with growers.” GERMAN GLYPHOSATE BAN Bayer is confident that the science supports it in glyphosate trials. “Thankfully, every regulator in the world sees it similarly,” says Condon. “Nothing changes in our support for glyphosate for farmers. It is the best product out there; the safest product out there.” Not all politicians agree. Germany opted to ban glyphosate by the end of 2023 and limit its use before then. However, the authority to ban chemicals like glyphosate lies with the European Commission (EC), not individual counties. “No country can make that decision by itself,” says Condon. He says the EC will decide by the end of 2022. “Before that, it (glyphosate) will go through the normal reregistration process, which is a scientific process run by the European Food Safety Authority. It makes a recommendation to the politicians, and the politicians then decide. Very honestly, a lot will depend on where politics are at the end of 2020.”

NEW WEED-MANAGEMENT OPTIONS Last June, Bayer Crop Science announced it was devoting $5.6 billion to explore other forms of weed control. “It was misinterpreted that we were looking to replace glyphosate with something else,” he says. That’s not the case, for Bayer wants glyphosate to remain an option for farmers, he says. However, Condon says Bayer believes there are not enough weed-control options for farmers. “In the last 25 years, there have been no new active ingredients on the (corn and soybeans) herbicide side,” he says. “So, we are investing massive amounts—$5.6 billion over the next few years—to find new options. Bayer announced last February it had a new corn and soybean herbicide site of action that may debut in the late 2020s. However, Bayer will explore other weedmanagement options that include: * Cultural practices like crop rotation * Cover crops * Digital application of pesticides that feature more precise application that uses less active ingredient * Robotics

Genetic breakthrough could increase value of rice S

cientists say they are close to identifying the genes responsible for the chalkiness of rice, knowledge that could lead to increasing yields of the staple crop, the International Rice Research Institute reports. Developing chalk-free varieties of rice could increase the grain's value by 25%, according to the report.

Chalk is the white portion of the grain. During the milling process, rice with high chalkiness breaks apart more easily, reducing the amount that makes it to market. The chalkiness of rice is a product of genetics and environment, with a few lowchalk varieties now available. Researchers at the Philippines-based International Rice Research Institute

looked into the genomes of high-chalk rice, rice with chalkiness that varied with the environment, and almost translucent low-chalk rice. They were able to identify areas in the genome responsible for chalkiness and will work further to find the specific genes. “We are now working with the extremely low-chalk rice to generate differ-

ent breeding lines to develop new chalkfree rice varieties,” one of the researchers, Xiangqian Zhao, said in a press release. “These can help farmers increase the amount of edible rice they harvest, produce higher quality rice, increase profit and deliver higher quality rice to consumers.”

‘Flash Drought’ worsening across 14 Southern US states ATLANTA: ore than 45 million people across 14 Southern states are now in the midst of what’s being called a “flash drought” that’s cracking farm soil, drying up ponds and raising the risk of wildfires, scientists said Thursday. The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor report released Thursday shows extreme drought conditions in parts of Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina and the Florida panhandle. Lesser drought conditions also have expanded in parts of Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. Overall, nearly 20 percent of the lower 48 U.S. states is experiencing drought conditions. The drought accelerated rapidly in September, as record heat combined with


little rainfall to worsen the parched conditions, said Brian Fuchs, a climatologist at the National Drought Mitigation Center in Nebraska.

“Typically we look at drought as being a slow onset, slow-developing type phenomenon compared to other disasters that rapidly happen, so this flash drought term

came about,” Fuchs said. “The idea is that it’s more of a rapidly developing drought situation compared to what we typically see.” Fuchs said he expects scientists to have further discussions about flash droughts, and perhaps develop parameters for what constitutes a flash drought. Climate change is expected to make this kind of drought even hotter in the southern Great Plains, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported recently. In a separate report this summer, NOAA scientists and researchers with the University of Colorado Boulder studied the impacts of the intense 2017 flash drought in the northern Great Plains, which caused $2.6 billion in losses in the region.






Healthy diets. For a #Zerohunger world. I

n recent decades, we have dramatically changed our diets and eating habits as a result of globalization, urbanization and income growth. We have moved from seasonal, mainly plant-based and fibre-rich dishes to diets that are high in refined starches, sugar, fats, salt, processed foods, meat and other animalsource products. Less time is spent preparing meals at home, and consumers, especially in urban areas, increasingly rely on supermarkets, fast food outlets, street food vendors and takeaway restaurants. A combination of unhealthy diets and sedentary lifestyles has sent obesity rates soaring, not only in developed countries, but also low-income countries, where hunger and obesity often coexist. Now over 670 million adults and 120 million girls An unhealthy diet is the and boys (5-19 years) are leading risk factor for deaths obese, and over 40 million from non-communicable dischildren under 5 are over- eases (NCDs), including carweight, while over 820 million diovascular diseases, diabetes people suffer from hunger.

and certain cancers. Linked with one fifth of deaths worldwide, unhealthy eating habits

are also taking a toll on national health budgets costing up to USD 2 trillion per year. Obesity and other forms of malnutrition affect nearly one

in three people. Projections indicate that the number will be one in two by 2025. The good

news is that affordable solutions exist to reduce all forms of malnutrition, but they require greater global commitment and action.

Dietary guidelines in your country provide advice on how to make sure you get enough nutrients to be healthy and prevent chronic disease. FAO supports countries in the development, updating and implementation of these dietary guidelines, which are also used to develop nutrition policies and education programmes. Eat plenty of fresh, ripe and seasonal vegetables and fruits daily and add more legumes, nuts and whole grains to your diet. Legumes and nuts are great sources of plantbased protein. What’s more, legumes can be cheaper than animal proteins. They’re also kinder on our planet.

What farmers and agribusinesses can do to achieve #Zerohunger C

ountries, decision makers and private businesses can also take action to promote healthy diets and achieve #ZeroHunger. The women and men who work in agriculture play a vital role in providing nutritious, affordable food. Whether they work on small family farms or in small food enterprises, their decisions will help shape the future of food and nutrition. These actions are a starting point for farmers and agribusinesses who want to make healthy diets available and build a #ZeroHunger world. Quality, Not Just Quantity Farmers need to consider a reorientation of agricultural priorities and move from an emphasis on producing high yields towards producing a diversity of nutritious foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts in an effort to meet the population’s dietary requirements. Take a Nutrition-Sensitive approach With a growing population expected to reach in nine billion in 2050, farmers need to find new, more productive ways to diversify crops and farm food. Nutrition-sensitive agriculture aims to make more diverse and nutritious food available and affordable. It also aims to make food more nutritious by enhancing micronutrient content in foods

through plant breeding and improved soil nutrient content and promotes sustainable production practices like conservation agriculture, water management and integrated pest management.

Preserve natural resources Farmers play a vital role in managing natural resources. While striving to diversify and produce diverse and nutritious foods, farmers need to manage natural resources sustainably and efficiently to help ensure their future availability and protect the environment. Agrobiodiversity is a way to respect natural ecosystems as it helps to maintain healthy soils, regulate pests and diseases, improve pollination and decrease the impacts of climate change by decreasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Unite as cooperatives Vulnerable rural populations need to empower themselves by uniting and forming local cooperatives. This is a way to receive technical assistance, learn about new food production methods, and gain access to finance and modern technologies. Cooperatives promote closer cooperation b e -

tween farmers and research institutions and help smaller farmers to have a voice in policy-making. Adapt to climate change Climate change is happening. Adopting a Climate-Smart Agriculture approach to farming can help farmers to face climate challenges, by helping them to use natural resources, such as soil and water in a sustainable way, to grow more nutritious food. Farmers should use seeds that are more resistant to drought and disease, breed livestock that is suited to warmer temperatures,

create stormproof ponds and cages for fish, and plant trees that are heat- and droughttolerant. Leverage the power of technology Modern digital technology and software, such as mobile device apps, can help farmers to access useful information on farming approaches for healthy diets and also to mitigate and fight the effects of pest or disease outbreaks or extreme weather events by allowing them to share information rapidly, access up-to- the-minute data and discover innovative farming solutions. Reduce food loss By finding ways to maintain quality and freshness and reduce post-harvest losses, farmers can increase their income and reduce prices at the consumer end. Farmers need to gain access to participate as much as possible in available training, gain access to adequate storage facilities and keep up to date with the latest developments in technology. Why not try aquaculture? Where possible, turn to local, small-scale fishery production as a source of income and affordable, vitamin- rich food for local communities. Fish provides protein, vitamins, minerals, and polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty



Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Marilyn Headley CEO & Conservator of Forests at the Forestry Department assist a little girl to plant a tree on the lawn of Jamaica House during the official launch of the National Tree Planting Initiative on October 4, 2019.

Gov launches tree planting project P

rime Minister Andrew Holness has announced an initiative that will see three million trees being planted across the island. The National Tree Planting Initiative was launched on October 4, 2019, at Jamaica House and is to be in operation for three years. The project is aimed at mitigating the effects of climate change and represents a tree being planted for every Jamaican. Prime Minister Holness asserted that the Government remains committed to the reduction of the erosion of watersheds and the attendant impact on coastal ecosystems.

The Prime Minister’s comments came on September 27 as he delivered Jamaica’s Policy statement at the General Debate 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York. “Jamaica and other Caribbean islands have the first-hand experience of the increase in the intensity of hurricanes as well as intermittent increased rainfall and extended periods of droughts. These adverse weather events have resulted in major economic losses and dislocation across the region. Jamaica has adopted several policies and legislative measures to reduce our vulnerability

to natural hazards and to adapt to the impacts of climate change. This includes the development of a comprehensive and first of its kind, Public Financial Disaster Risk Management policy with provisions for financial risk protection, including budgetary contingency funds and state-contingent debt instruments,” said Prime Minister Holness. In that regard, Prime Minister Holness stated that more action is needed at the national and global levels to urgently tackle climate change. The Prime Minister also added that efforts towards climate action will require ad-

equate financing, transformative and scalable programmes. According to Prime Minister Holness, the effects of climate change are intensifying, with coastal cities and low-lying island nations facing the greatest risk, citing the recent devastation wrought by Hurricane Dorian, in the Bahamas. In the meantime, Prime Minister Holness stated that he was honoured to jointly lead with the leaders of France and Qatar, the Climate Finance and Carbon Pricing track at the recently concluded UN Climate Action Summit.

Agri gets $11 billion investment project Continued from page 1 The hi-tech venture, which will boast the latest in agricultural technology and consist of open field, greenhouse and shade house. "Lakes Pen will endeavor to identify new markets for high-value crops,” Azan said. “These high-quality agriculture produce present a unique opportunity for Jamaica and remains to be conquered. The market opportunity for Jamaican-grown produce should not be missed out, despite the seemingly higher risks associated with agricultural production in Jamaica." The investor also pointed out that Jamaica is currently spending between US$850 million and US$1 billion annually on some 40,000 tons of food imports. Lakes Pen Agri-Ventures could cut that amount significantly, he said. Among the crops that will be grown are tomatoes, peppers, and lettuce, which are sold in large volumes in Azan's MegaMart stores. The reliability of imports, in part, drove him to launch the venture. "Because we have so many deficiencies

in the agricultural produce that we have for sale, the idea was to find some kind of food security or supply-line security for the MegaMart stores,” Azan said. Project Manager Victor Cummings, a former minister of state in the Ministry of Agriculture and one-time CEO of the Trade Board, said Lakes Pen Agri-Ventures plan to cultivate tomato, pepper, turmeric, ginger, honey, strawberry, coffee, yam, and other crops. Cummings said Lakes Farm would revolutionalize the way agriculture is practiced in Jamaica. "We are going to transform agriculture, something that has been talked about so many times but hasn't been done," Cummings noted. "We have a vision of how we are going to revolutionize agriculture in Jamaica, how we are going to transform it." He continued by adding, "We want to build some linkages back to the farmer and straight to the retail shelves. We would end up producing better quality, better supply lines, and a more farmers' market appeal rather than a supermarket appeal."

In endorsing the new venture, Lenworth Fulton, president of the Jamaica Agricultural Society, praised Azan and his team for investing in local farming. "Our people here have tried very hard. Our small farmers have produced an average of 650,000 metric tons of food yearly…but we need to move a notch up," said Fulton.

"I am very happy for the project, and the agricultural society is delighted. The farmers will have a market to feed into so I can go out and chirp the happy word: 'Produce, there is a market coming,'" Fulton added.

THE TROPICAL FARMERS’ ALMANAC 2020 Book your advertisement and copies 923-7471 or



PESTICIDES FOCUS Pesticides Management


Tamara Morrison Registrar, PCA

About the Pesticides Control Authority (PCA)

Principal Director, Technical Services, Rural Agricultural Development Authority Marina Young, addresses a recent Jamaica Information Service ‘Think Tank’. -Photo: Yhomo Hutchinson

Farmers Encouraged to Use Protective Gear When Using Pesticides


he Pesticides Control Authority (PCA) is a statutory body of the Government of Jamaica, mandated through the Pesticides Act of 1975 to regulate, manage and control pesticide usage in Jamaica. Other Acts also impinge on pesticide control, but the Pesticides Act (1975) was legislated to allow for specific control of the pesticide industry. Embodied within the Pesticides Act (1975) is the formation of a Pesticides Control Authority (PCA). The members of the Board are appointed by the Minister of Health and are made up of representatives from public and private sector organisations who have the expertise required for pesticide related matters. The Board meets monthly and sets the policies to regulate the industry in relation to the importation, manufacture, use, distribution and control of pesticides, among other things. The Ministry of Health has portfolio responsibility for the Pesticides Control Authority (PCA). The functions as outlined in the Pesticides Act are: • to register pesticides; • to licence persons to import or manufacture registered pesticides; • to authorize persons to sell restricted pesticides; • to register premises in which a restricted pesticide may be sold; • to licence pest control operators; • to consider and determine applications made pursuant to this Act and to deal with all aspects of the importation, manufacture packaging, preparation for sale, sale, disposal and use of pesticides and to advise the Minister on all matters in relation thereto; and • to do such other things as may be expedient or necessary for the proper performance of its functions under this Act. 876-633-7769 • 876-461-2808

By: Rosheika Grant he Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) is reminding farmers to wear the proper protective gear when using pesticides on their farms. “The most critical gear are the longsleeves shirt, long pants, water boots and chemical resistant gloves. The cost of the chemical resistant gloves is considered to be economical, as it is about $500 if bought in large quantities. However, respirators are the most expensive and can be between $40005000 depending on the brand and model,” she explained. “We will continue to highlight what protective gear to use, how to use them so that they can be used for a long time and reduce exposure to pesticides,” she said. The Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) is reminding farmers to wear the proper protective gear when using pesticides on their farms. Speaking with JIS News, Principal Director, Technical Services, RADA, Marina Young said the Agency has faced challenges with farmers, using the required gear such as, overalls, goggles, chemical resistant gloves and respirators. “The reasons are various including the fact it is very hot, because even if they spray early in the morning or late afternoon, they are still in the tropics where the temperature is quite high,” she stated. Young, further noted that based on RADA’s engagement with the over 36,000 farmers annually, the cost of protective gear is also an issue.


“The most critical gear are the longsleeves shirt, long pants, water boots and chemical resistant gloves. The cost of the chemical resistant gloves is considered to be economical, as it is about $500 if bought in large quantities. However, respirators are the most expensive and can be between $40005000 depending on the brand and model,” she explained. Young, however noted that technology is developing very rapidly and protective gear can be simplified. “So instead of wearing overalls, farmers can use long-sleeve shirts and long pants which can be a lighter type of material,” she stated. Meanwhile, the Principal Director said local chemical houses have been supporting RADA’s aim, to increase the use of protective gear by farmers. “A number of them are now bringing in coveralls that are made of very light materials, some of the options even include disposables so there is no longer that challenge to access proper protective equipment,” Mrs Young explained. She added that RADA will continue to emphasize the importance of using protective gear, through its training sessions and workshops. “We will continue to highlight what protective gear to use, how to use them so that they can be used for a long time and reduce exposure to pesticides,” she said.

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The Tropical Farmers’ Almanac 2020

Call Adira 876-909-0770

he Rural Agricultural Development Authority sees the necessity in notifying farmers and the general public of the proper uses of pesticides. • Understanding the Pesticide Label The use of pesticides has become an indispensable factor of agricultural production. Nearly all pesticides are toxic and can be potentially dangerous to humans if exposure is excessive. Pesticides however, can be used safely. Information on this is contained in the manufacturer’s label. • Pesticide labels can be defined as visual aid and support for concise, practical, easyunderstood information on the procedure for using product and for protecting the user and the environment from risk of accident. • By law, certain kinds of information must appear on a pesticide label and applicators have the legal responsibility to read, understand and follow the label directions.

Tips to remember when using pesticides • Always read the label carefully to ensure that the product is intended for your specific use. • Do not make assumption that the pesticide can be use on any crop. • Use of higher than recommended dose rate can waste money and may harm people and the environment. It may not provide better control and can be even less effective. • Buy only what you need. Storing and disposing of leftover pesticides can lead to unnecessary risks. • Read the label over before using pesticide instead of relying on your memory. • Using pesticides in accordance with the label recommendations ensures safety of our food and environment.




RADA NEWS RADA Implements Sustainable Water-Harvesting Techniques C hief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Peter Thompson, says the organisation is seeking to implement sustainable water- harvesting techniques in the sector, as it seeks to boost the country’s food security. Speaking at the recently held workshop on ‘Accelerating the Adoption of Climate Smart Agriculture in Jamaica’, he informed that the Authority has conducted an audit of the island’s public water catchment facilities, with the objective of putting them back into service. “We will be looking at issues related to earthen ponds. We will be looking at how we can rehabilitate some of the water catchments across the island. We have done an assessment of all the catchments we have identified and it will cost in excess of $200 million to repair them, so we will be looking at some of those,” he added. Mr. Thompson said that while the ‘Black Tank’ programme continues to be used by farmers in their irrigation activities, more sustainable systems need to be introduced to protect the agricultural sector from shocks associated with climate change. “One of the programmes we are pushing is the whole issue of water harvesting. Nothing is wrong with the ‘Black Tank’ programme, but we have to move away from that programme and look at more sustainable ways of harnessing water and preserving it for future use,” he suggested. Introduced in 2009, the ‘Black Tank’ programme forms part of the Ministry’s overall drought mitigation programme for the agri-

Chief Executive Officer of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Peter Thompson (centre), in conversation with Senior Director, Technology, Training and Technical Information, RADA, Winston Shaw (left) and Principal Director, Climate Change Division, Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, UnaMay Gordon, at a recent workshop on ‘Accelerating the Adoption of Climate-Smart Agriculture in Jamaica’ at the Spanish Court Hotel in Kingston. -JIS/PHOTO: RUDRANATH FRASER

cultural sector. “Most of the water we are getting from rains is destined for the ocean. When rain is falling, we don’t think of drought, but then as soon as the rain dissipates we think about water,” he said. The CEO said the challenges in the sector are further exacerbated by severe drought conditions and extensive bush fires across the

island, which have devastated a number of farms. He estimates $400 million in losses in the sector caused by drought, bush fires and flooding. All these factors, he pointed out, cause environmental degradation which adversely impacts the sector. Mr. Thompson said there are 209,000 farmers registered with RADA and another

20,000 to 30,000 unregistered farmers, and that some 80 per cent of these farmers occupy marginal lands which are prone to natural disasters, such as hurricanes, which cause soil erosion. “Many of them use bad practices, such as the use of bush fires to clear land. A result of that is the heavy siltation we are seeing in some of our dams,” he said.

RADA officers benefit from online training S

ome twenty extension officers of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) have recently completed an eight-week online training programme sponsored by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL). RADA and the COL have had a longstanding partnership since 2009, in implementing the Life Long Learning for Farmers (L3F) Initiative in Jamaica. This initiative has increased in depth, reach, and socio-economic benefits, as many farmers have since been engaged in several capacity building exercises through the use of technology over the last ten years. RADA’s capacity has also been strengthened through this collaborative partnership and continued support from the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) towards improving access to quality education and training. To this end, the Agricultural Extension Service has been identified as the primary facilitation mechanism. A significant need in this area is to ensure that the highest levels of competence and confidence in service delivery are maintained, especially among the new agricultural extension officers. One approach to addressing this organizational need is through continuous capacity building of RADA staff and for the Authority to explore Open Distance Learning (ODL).

The first cohort of RADA officers participating in Financial Literacy and Enterprise Development Online Learning Course at the graduation ceremony at the RADA head office on September 18 in Kingston.

Collaborative partnerships with educational institutions such as the COL and Mona School of Business & Management (MSBM) in the past have proven to be successful. Using the Moodle platform, a pilot project was first conducted in 2017 to build the capacity of twenty Extension Officers in the area of Agricultural Business Management. Since then, a total of 80 Officers have been trained.

The current course was designed to equip Extension Officers with skills that will assist them in becoming competent facilitators in the area of Financial Literacy and Enterprise Development. A farmer field school, group-based learning approach, was taken in delivering this course. The eLearning portal allowed the Officers to access the course materials, question forums, and unit assessment at any time from any location.

The course was delivered over eight weeks. Several techniques were used to maximize the effectiveness of the online delivery: • The weekly 3 hour online sessions were facilitator-led using a web-conferencing platform for continuous integrated virtual interaction with the participants via Chat, Audio/Video, and Presentation Materials. • Participants were given group activities to increase communication among peers.

The Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) Email: 876-977-1158-62 Fax: 876-970-4660





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Farmers’ Alert Notice Cocoa Farmers The official 2019-2020 crop commences October 1, 2019.

Harvesting Tips

Field trials showing the new TR4 resistant banana variety ZJ4 compared to the susceptible BaXi grown in Guangdong, China.(Photo: G. Yi/Guangdong, China)

IAEA, FAO help develop bananas resistant to major fungal disease By Miklos Gaspar IAEA Office of Public Information and Communication ield trials showing the new TR4 resistant banana variety ZJ4 compared to the susceptible BaXi grown in Guangdong, China.(Photo: G. Yi/Guangdong, China) Bananas may be the world’s favourite fruit, but plantations worldwide are increasingly under threat from a new fungus, which destroys banana plants threatening farmers’ livelihoods and the industry.


Confined to Southeast Asia for decades, the Fusarium wilt Tropical Race 4 (TR4) was spotted for the first time in Africa recently and in Latin America earlier this year. Its outbreak in Colombia in August led to the declaration of a national emergency. The IAEA – in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) – has worked with researchers from all around the world to support the development of new varieties of various banana species that would be resistant to the disease. “Modern bananas can’t grow seeds and so are difficult to improve using cross breeding,” said Ivan Ingelbrecht, Head of the FAO/IAEA Plant Breeding and Genetics Laboratory. Therefore, the use of techniques such as irradiation or chemical mutagenesis to produce new varieties with favourable traits is often a favoured option to combat the disease. After years of research, Chinese experts have recently released a new variety resistant to TR4 of Cavendish, the banana that is used for export. The new variety was developed using chemical mutagenesis techniques. Other countries, including the Philippines, are in advanced stages of developing their own varieties using gamma irradiation, Ingelbrecht said. Fusarium wilt has been a major constraint to banana production for over a century. The disease is caused by a soil-borne fungus called Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense. The pathogen remains viable for decades in the soil and is therefore difficult to eradicate. A new race of this fungus has recently emerged, called Tropical Race 4 or TR4. “The fungi enter susceptible plants through the roots and interfere with the uptake of water, causing wilting of the leaves and the banana plant eventually dies,” explained Ingelbrecht. The FAO estimates that the annual direct damage caused by TR4 in Southeast Asia reaches about US$ 400 million, ex-

cluding indirect socio-economic impacts. “The release of a new Cavendish variety will benefit many farmers; this success is due to the close collaboration with the IAEA and the FAO on mutagenesis techniques,” said Yi Ganjun, Vice President of the Guangdong Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Guangzhou. “This state-of-the-art technology has resulted in a remarkable breakthrough to combat Fusarium wilt.” “The exciting results of a new ‘local’ banana variety resistant to Fusarium Wilt TR4 gives tremendous hope to banana farmers who have successfully tested the new plants in field trials,” said Yi. “Mutagenesis techniques can contribute to the development of new banana plants to suit local environmental conditions.” The new variety is now being multiplied and distributed to other provinces. Chinese experts are willing to help their colleagues in other countries to develop varieties resistant to TR4 that are suited for their climatic and soil conditions, Yi added. Scientists use in vitro techniques to grow thousands of small banana plants in culture tubes suitable for mutagenesis using chemicals, gamma rays or X-rays. These speed up the natural process of mutation in plants and creates genetic diversity that can then be used to produce new varieties, including those with favourable traits. A coordinated research project with the participation of scientists from six countries, including China and the Philippines, has spearheaded work on developing banana lines with resistance to TR4 since 2015. “The success achieved using chemical mutagenesis and the promising progress using irradiation in several Asian countries suggests that developing new, TR4-resistant varieties will be possible in the not too distant future in other parts of the world as well,” Ingelbrecht said. “The IAEA and the FAO are committed to helping countries get there.”

• Healthy pods should only be harvested as soon as they are ripe. • Care should be taken to minimize damage to the tree and flower cushions. • Prevent the introduction and spread of disease. • Use clean, well maintained tools. • It is important that only beans from just ripe and healthy pods are used in fermentation since the beans from immature, overripe or damaged/diseased pods will be of poor quality and may give rise to food safety issues. • Transport cocoa beans in clean uncontaminated container. —————————————-

Coffee Farmers Protecting Jamaica’s Coffee Quality Means Protecting Your Investment

In Ripe Fruits: • The Sugars and Acids are fully developed. • The mucilage is adequate hence easy removal of the skin. • Better quality to the consumer. • Better returns to the farmer

Do not harvest these coffee fruits: Green • Over Ripe • Immature • Dry

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HELPING PEOPLE Farmers Get ‘ACP Care Packages' Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries J.C. Hutchinson (4th l) poses with Sales Manager of Ag Chem, Zabdy Smith (2nd l); farmers Emanuel LLoyd and Gerald Davis at the handing-over ceremony of 'ACP Care Packages' to farmers in Flagaman, St. Elizabeth who were recently affected by fire. The presentation which was sponsored by Ag Chem Plant Limited was held on September 13 at Pedro Cross, St. Elizabeth. Some 30 farmers benefitted from the farm supplies which include seeds, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, soluble fertilizer and tropi-gro moisture max. The event was organized by Ag Chem's Marketing Coordinator Georgia Robinson and attended by RADA Parish Manager Nathan Samuel and extension officers from St. Elizabeth.

Floyd Green Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture & Fisheries (MICAF) and MP for South West St. Elizabeth (1st l) in an animated discussion with Col (ret’d) Jaimie Ogilvie Assistant Vice President of Hi-Pro (5th l), to the delight of JC Hutchinson Minister without Portfolio at MICAF (2nd l); Wilton Honeyghan Flagaman farmer (3rd l) and Roy McNeil chief technical director at MICAF. They were at the recent Hi-Pro event held at the Pedro Plains Anglican church hall, where the company handed out seeds, chemicals and fertilizers valued at $1 m to burnt out farmers.

‘Hero’ of the Flagman bush fire recognised by Hi-Pro E

manuel Lloyd, who has been declared a ‘hero’ by the burnt out farmers in Flagaman, was among 30 affected farmers who received products from Hi-Pro, a division of the Jamaica Broilers Group, to restart planting. They were presented with beetroot, melon and cantaloupe seeds, as well as chemicals and fertiliser, valued at a total of $1 million. At a handing over ceremony held at the Pedro Plains Anglican church hall on Friday, August 30 - and attended by Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Investment, Commerce, Agriculture & Fisheries (MICAF), JC Hutchinson and Member of Parliament for the area Floyd Green, who is also Minister of

State in MICAF - the farmers recognised Mr. Lloyd with loud applause for the sacrifice he made to have water trucks trample his mature crops planted by the roadside in a desperate attempt to put out the fire which threatened his farm and 50 acres of crops nearby in Back Flagaman. The fire eventually engulfed 200 acres of mulching grass and ready-for-harvest crops., throughout the Flagaman/Pedro Plains communities. “Yes! I am a hero,” Mr. Lloyd declared, when asked how he felt about the celebrity status he had been given by his peers in the Flagaman community. “How many persons would have allowed a water truck to drive

through their farm, considering the cucumber, tomato and beetroot were ready for reaping in a few days?” he asked. But Mr. Lloyd said he had no regrets in losing the potential earnings from his farm, as he didn’t think he had a choice because he wanted to save the farms. “It is in my nature to help, which I do all the time. So this is nothing new,” he noted. A former produce delivery truck driver, Mr. Lloyd, 61, took up farming about 12 years ago in his attempt to be financially independent. “You don’t earn a lot from small farming…is only pocket money you make, but it

helps me to assist my sons and my three-yearold granddaughter” he said. In fact, he was planning to sell his crops to buy back-toschool supplies for her ahead of the September school reopening. The shy and somewhat reserved farmer said he is ready to start over and expressed gratitude to Hi-Pro for the donations. Assistant Vice President for Hi-Pro, Mr. Jaimie Ogilvie, said based on the strong relationship his organisation has built with the more than 130-thousand farmers across Jamaica, his organisation had to help those affected in the ‘bread basket’ of the country to get back on their feet.




Nutramix Youth in Agriculture ambassador Bryan Reid feeds his goats

Bryan Reid continues a family tradition in farming


ryan Reid wanted to become an auto mechanic after finishing studies at the Christiana High school in Manchester.

However, he decided to pursue an Associate Degree in Mechanical Engineering at the Knox Community College. His degree was instrumental in starting Reid’s agriculture and tractor company three years ago. “I wanted to focus on using engineering to improve my production and those of other farmers. But to be honest, I see myself more as a farmer than as an engineer,” said Reid. A career in farming was inevitable for Reid. The 23-year-old grew up around a family whose roots were deeply entrenched in agriculture. As a child, he would often walk to the farm with his father and assisted him with the various functions to keep the farm going. “Agriculture is all around me. I grew up seeing my grandparents, my father, and my mother doing it for a living. But I was always helping them on the farm, so it became a part of me as well,” Reid shared. Reid is from the small community of Ova River in Chudleigh District, Manchester. The farm that he shares with his father produces livestock and cash crops. “What I like most about farming is that it offers satisfaction, which is not often found in other careers. Planting my crops it provides me with food to eat and produce to sell to vendors who supply consumers across the island,” he explained. He added, “Farming also gives me joy while planting seeds and watching them germinate, also to see young shoots mature and then harvest the crop. As for the livestock, it allows me to develop a relationship with the animals, which must be cared

for tenderly and patiently.” Reid gave an insight into how profitable farming has been for him. “Everything in life has its ups and downs, and farming is no different. We are sometimes affected by glut and even the weather. However, farming is profitable enough to cover my day to day expenses.” He added, “For me, the downside to farming has to do with the investment that you put into the crops. Sometimes the results are not what you expected them to be. There are times when the price of the product is low, which affects your profitability. However, this hasn’t deterred me. I go back to the drawing board and start all over.” Through Reid’s Agriculture and Tractor Company, Bryan has been able to use engineering to improve his production and those of other farmers. “I provide tractors to plow the land for farmers, and I also use them on my farm,” he said. His products are sold to local vendors. His long-term plans include increasing production on his farm to help eliminate imports. “I am working on producing enough products to supply the local market, and this will help in reducing the country’s high import bill,” he explained. Bryan Reid is a Nutramix Youth in Agriculture ambassador. “I strongly feel honoured to be recognized as an ambassador for Nutramix Youth in Agriculture. And as a young person, I deem it a privilege to be given this recognition and opportunity,” said Reid.





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H High Toxiccity

SLU L GOF FF F Always exercise caution and wear proper safety gear when handling, preparing and using fungicide; keep out of reach of children. Reffer to t Product P d t Instructio I t ti nss for correct usage.


Blue odorless o granula ar bait pellets witth a mode of acttion by ccontact/ingestion for soil appliccation. Actiive Ingredient: Meta aldehyde

Available at Hi-Pro o Farm Supplies, Pharmacies,, Supermarkets, Hardwares a and Wholesales islandwide.

Telephone: 984-7918/619-1302

An effective mollusscicide that controls sn nails and P Citrus, Coffee e, Cocoa, slugs in Banana, Plantain, Papaya, Corn,, Cabbage, Carrot, Cau uliflower, Strawberry, Pea, Bea ans, Peppers, Tomato, Lettuce, Melon, Cucumbe er, Watermelon, Onions, Garlic, Escallion, Ornamentals, Sugar cane, Turff, Lawns, Pasture and d Forage.



H&L Agro donates farm supplies valued at $2M

(l-r) Managing Director, Marcus Richards, and Deputy Chief Executive Officer Olive Downer Walsh, both from Hardware and Lumber Limited, standing alongside farmer, Vernon Reynolds who recounts the resourcefulness of the farmers in combating the flames that destroyed 200 acres of farmland in Flagaman, St. Elizabeth earlier in August. “It was reassuring to see everyone doing what they could, he said. “People didn't just wait for help to come—they played their part. My son and I transported water with our trucks, saving homes threatened by the flames. A neighbour even allowed the trucks to drive through his fields, sacrificing his produce that was ready to be harvested.”

John Davis receiving his H&L Agro donation with a handshake from Councillor of the Pedro Plains Division of South West St. Elizabeth, Jeremy Palmer (r). Davis was one of the farmers from Flagaman, St. Elizabeth affected by the devastating fire which consumed 200 acres of farmland in August. He expressed his gratitude towards the donations made by H&L Agro at the Farm Aid 2019 event held in the community. “We’re delighted for the contributions from H&L,” he said. “The drums, for example, couldn’t have come at a better time, because most of us lost ours to the fire despite our best efforts. Our produce won’t come into harvest until about January, so we’ll have to use our savings to stick it out until then. The subsidies and other donations that we got here today will really help us to put back into our farms until things turn around, so it is much appreciated.”

(l-r) Flagaman farmer, Martin Parchment, talking with H&L Limited team members Simone Mahabeer, Retail Marketer; Odean Bradshaw, Market and Business Development Manager; and Blandine Jean-Paul, Marketing Consultant. He walked them through the extent of damage caused by the devastating flames which threatened the livelihoods of over 40 Farmers in his community earlier in August.

Nathan Samuels, the Rural Agricultural Development Authority’s Parish Manager for St. Elizabeth, addressing the farmers of Flagaman, St. Elizabeth that suffered at the hands of a fire which consumed over $45 million worth of crops and farming equipment. He lauded the farmers' quick response to the disaster, saying, “Flagaman is a major contributor to the wider economy. Had they suffered greater losses, the effects would have been felt right across the agricultural sector. The scale of their sacrifice and quick action make them truly unsung heroes of Southern St. Elizabeth.”

Gerald Davis, a farmer of Flagaman, St. Elizabeth, posing after with the H&L Agro donations he received at Farm Aid 2019. Among H&L Agro’s contributions to the recovery of the farmers were drums for agricultural use, fertiliser and hybrid seeds valued at $2M.

Fungicide treatment of ginger planting material (control of rhizome rot disease)  fungicide dip treatment should be done on dry, sunny days.  use systemic fungicide topsin 70% (a.i. thiphanate methyl) use 0.2% fungicide mixture (=2 tablespoons of topsin per gallon of water)  place ginger rhizomes in an onion bag or clean fertilizer bag. for fertilizer bag, make holes in the bottom to allow easy draining of water.

 dip bag with ginger in fungicide mixture for 20 minutes.  make sure that bag is fully covered by the fungicide mixture.  move bag up and down in mixture every five minures for best results.  remove bag with rhizomes and spread on a clean surface to dry.  treatment can be done right before or few

days prior to planting.  fungicide dip can be also done for planting sets selected for the next crop. How to prepare fungicide mixture?  Take a small amount of water and pre-mix all the required amount of fungicide in it;  Pour fungicide solution in the total volume of water and mix thoroughly at least 5 minutes Add a commercial sticker at the labeled rate for the best results.

 Prepare fresh stock of fungicide mixture after treating 2000 lbs of rhizomes. If ginger has dirt, fresh solution of fungicide must be prepared more often.  Never re-use fungicide solution on the following day. For further information contact your nearest RADA office. -Rural Agricultural Development Authority





Profile for Patrick S Maitland

The Agriculturalist Newspaper  

The Agriculturalist is the trusted source of news and information for an estimated 200,000 readers. An audience​ of mainly​ farmers, farmers...

The Agriculturalist Newspaper  

The Agriculturalist is the trusted source of news and information for an estimated 200,000 readers. An audience​ of mainly​ farmers, farmers...