JIS News

Farmers who have been affected by the Beet Army Worm in St. Elizabeth, will begin receiving assistance next week.
This was announced by Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, at a meeting with farmers, held at the Pedro Plains Anglican Church, in St. Elizabeth, on June 17.
“I have instructed that the parish tractor service be made available free of cost to the affected farmers. In addition to that, I have instructed the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) to provide planting materials to fields that are ploughed, so that the farmers can restart their production,” he said.
The Minister urged farmers to work together, so that the plague can be controlled. “If an affected field is not dealt with, it will affect other farms, so if you are affected, immediately take the necessary steps to control it,” he urged.
Dr. Tufton said the Ministry will continue to provide public education on ways to deal with the pest, “and I have instructed the plant protection personnel to bring farmers in small groups, and walk them through this process. Use this experience to learn, so that it doesn’t recur in the future.”
The Minister pointed out that at different intervals, affected farmers must be invited to sit with Extension Officers, so that everyone can understand how and what type of applications are necessary to fight the worm.
“When we have a period of long drought, and then rain, we are going to have this type of challenge. This is not the first time that we have had this challenge, and it is important that we approach it in an objective way, because if we assume what is not the cause, we are going to prescribe an incorrect approach,” the Minister emphasised.
On May 18, farmers in parts of St. Elizabeth reported that their fields were heavily infested by the pest, which resulted in over 37 hectares of escallion being affected.
Technical representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries have been visiting the areas to advise the farmers of what actions are necessary to tackle the problem.

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