MONTEGO BAY — Farmers across the country have been encouraged to mulch their fields and to give free days on each other’s farms, in order to cut costs and become more competitive.
Support Service Manager at the Grand Palladium Hotel in Montego Bay, Leroy Peart, told farmers at the recent St. James Association of Branch Societies annual general meeting in Montego Bay, that they should “unearth that co-operative spirit” that was so effective in the past.
“Consider having four to six men coming together to work on a farm. I put it to you that when those persons come together on a farm for a day, the amount of work that is accomplished, far outstrip each person acting alone. This was effective in the past, and is a practical way of helping the farmer to reduce cost,” he said.
“I am challenging the Jamaica Agricultural Society, the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) and all farmers to return to that practice, so that you can become more competitive,” Mr. Peart added.
He also encouraged farmers to practise organic farming, with mulching in the mix, which could have far-reaching effect on maintaining moisture in the soil for greater productivity.
“This practice of mulching is one of the main features and practice exercised by farmers of St. Elizabeth and they do it successfully. We all know that when we are doing mini-set yam production, plastic mulching is used to retain moisture in the soil and keep down the weed,” Mr. Peart said.
Commenting on the scourge of praedial larceny and its effect on farmers, he argued that if farmers adopt the principle of, ‘I am my brother’s keeper,’ then this age-old problem could be successfully controlled.
“I am aware of initiatives promulgated over time, but it is my view that the greatest effect lies in the vigilance of our neighbours. Most times miscreants or thieves are seen, but no one will come forward or say anything. Be your brother’s keeper, as much can be accomplished in tandem with other measures,” Mr. Peart said.
He pointed out that despite the many and varied challenges in the industry, farmers are some of the country’s most skilled and astute business persons.
“You use the factors of production in the most unpredictable environment, subject to the most susceptible and, in some cases uncontrollable variables that can impact a work in progress,” Mr. Peart told the farmers.
By GLENIS ROSE, JIS Reporter