Training Session for Farmers on Beet Army Worm

Photo: Rudranath Fraser Senior Plant Health and Food Safety Officer at the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Francine Webb (right), addresses farmers at a training session on the Beet Army Worm with farmers from St. Elizabeth and Manchester on October 23 at New Forest/Duff House in Manchester.

Story Highlights

  • The Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) held a training session for farmers in Manchester and St. Elizabeth on October 23, to remind them of the best practices to prevent the resurgence of the Beet Army Worm (BAW).
  • “We are encouraging farmers to speak with local RADA representatives, so that you can be guided on the appropriate and effective substances to use. We are also encouraging farmers to attend the training session,” Mr. Spence said.
  • Mr. McDonald is encouraging the farmers to follow the instructions, because it will help them financially. “I have been delivering to Grace, and they never reject my crops, because when you monitor your field you get good results,” he said.

The Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) held a training session for farmers in Manchester and St. Elizabeth on October 23, to remind them of the best practices to prevent the resurgence of the Beet Army Worm (BAW).

The session was held at the New Forest/Duff House location on the border of both parishes, where the pest has impacted some crops, particularly scallion.

Members of the technical staff in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries made presentations and discussed the integrated pest management system that is designed to detect early signs of the BAW.

Chief Technical Director in the Ministry, Dermon Spence, said the session also demonstrated to the farmers the Ministry’s commitment to agriculture and to them.

“The Ministry is here to encourage you the farmers. We are investing in the process because we want growth in agriculture. Let us not allow this thing to get out of hand. The technical team will be monitoring the situation to ensure that there are no unusual occurrences of the pest,” Mr. Spence told the farmers.

He is encouraging the farmers to reach out to the Ministry if they see any unfamiliar signs on plants or in the fields.

“We are encouraging farmers to speak with local RADA representatives, so that you can be guided on the appropriate and effective substances to use. We are also encouraging farmers to attend the training session,” Mr. Spence said.

He pointed out that poor management of the fields can lead to an increase in the pest, which will lead to a shortage of scallion and a hike in prices. However, he said at this time, there should be no shortage of the product.

“We do not want farmers in the area and the consumers to believe that the matter is out of control. The Ministry is here to ensure that, from the get-go, we are enforcing the best practices, so we are asking them not to neglect the fields,” he emphasised.

For his part, farmer from the New Forest Agro Park area, Henry McDonald, said he is thankful for the involvement and training he has been receiving from RADA.

He said the training sessions have taught him the best practices of farming and he has been seeing the benefits in the yield from his fields.

“I really get a lot of instructions from the Field Officer about how to monitor my garden, and it is serving me well financially,” Mr. McDonald shared.

“I always make sure that, two or three times a week, I scout my garden to check if there are any army worms around or if there are eggs on the plant, and to make sure that I spray when it is necessary,” he said.

Mr. McDonald is encouraging the farmers to follow the instructions, because it will help them financially. “I have been delivering to Grace, and they never reject my crops, because when you monitor your field you get good results,” he said.

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