About 35 farmers from the Sligoville/Harkers Hall area in St. Catherine participated recently in a training day to learn more about the cultural practices of growing ginger.
The event, which was organised by the Office of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) in Linstead, was held in Harkers Hall.
Presenters were Land Husbandry Specialist at RADA, Winston Simpson; Crop Protection Specialist, RADA, David Williamson, and Regional Crop Protection Officer, RADA, Carlton Williams.
Last year, the farmers were selected to participate in a $225,000 Development Bank of Jamaica-funded ginger rehabilitation project. The project was conceptualised by the RADA office and the objective was to increase the production of ginger that was free from the rhizome rot, a root disease affecting ginger plants.
Under the programme, each farmer would establish .04 hectare of ginger and receive free planting material, fertiliser, chemicals and basic training in land preparation, pest management as well as pre-harvest and post-harvest techniques. At the end of the crop, each farmer would be required to return 68.04 kilograms of planting materials, which would then be distributed to other farmers.
Mr. Simpson spoke on the selection of suitable sites for growing ginger, land preparation, trenching of the field and conservation measures to prevent soil erosion.
A presentation on the fertilising and planting of the crop was done by Mr. Williamson, while Mr. Williams explained why and how planting materials should be treated prior to planting. He spoke about two methods of treating the plant material, one with hot water and the other with a fungicide, ‘Topsin’.
Acting Parish Manager for RADA, Andrew Carty told JIS News that planting materials, fertiliser and chemicals would be distributed to the farmers when the land preparation was completed.
“If the farmer does not carry out the practices, then we will not use them in the programme,” he said. He added that RADA extension officers would be visiting the farmers to ensure that the land was properly prepared as instructed by them.
Mr. Carty said he was hoping that the farmers would keep “their end of the bargain”, so that other farmers could benefit.
“The process of selection was very intense and we selected farmers of good repute and it was done by a committee involving RADA and Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) officers and group leaders within the districts,” he noted.
The Acting Parish Manager said that planting materials would be obtained from ginger producing areas in St. Thomas, which have been producing healthy ginger over the years.