JBI Assists Ginger and Cassava Farmers in St. Catherine


Farmers participating in the Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI) funded ginger and cassava projects in St. Catherine are to receive fertilizers and herbicides to facilitate replanting.
Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) Parish Manager for St. Catherine, Andrew Carty, told JIS News that the JBI had provided some $400,000 to rehabilitate ginger and cassava plots in the Linstead Extension Area that were damaged following the passage of Hurricane Ivan. “The money is available right now. It has already been granted by the JBI and by next week, the farmers should get their supplies,” he informed.
Mr. Carty said that the RADA office was in the process of purchasing fertilizers valued at some $300,000 to assist the ginger farmers in rehabilitating their plots.
According to Mr. Carty, the chemicals were needed by the farmers to help in controlling the yellowing of leaves and the “leaf spot” problem, caused by excessive water in the soil. “The nutrients in the soil have been drained because of the excessive rain, so we will be giving them some fertilizer to put back the nutrients that were lost,” he explained.
The ginger project, which was launched in March this year, involved 25 farmers, who were selected to plant one hectare of the crop. Once the crop had been reaped, each farmer would be required to return 68.04 kilograms of planting materials, which would then be distributed to other farmers.
Meanwhile, cassava farmers are also to benefit from the provision of fertilizers and insecticides at a cost of some $100,000. Mr. Carty said that the insecticides would be used to control the “budworm,” an insect, which feeds on the leaf of the cassava plant.
“This could affect the production of cassava because we will not have enough of the foliage that was required to carry out the photosynthesis process. and if we do not have enough of the foliage we would not get the production that we require,” he added. The cassava project involves 100 farmers selected to plant approximately 20 hectares of the crop. Each beneficiary is required to plant .20 hectares (1/2 acre) of cassava.

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