JIS News

Some 45 farmers from Green Island, Hanover yesterday (Feb.15) benefited from an organic farming workshop organized by the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA).
The workshop, which was held on the grounds of the Harding Hall Basic School, forms part of a series of training days being held across the parish to expose farmers to the various aspects of agricultural production, and introduce them to new technologies.
Resource persons at Wednesday’s workshop were Claudette McKenzie, acting senior research director at the Montpelier Agricultural Research Station in St. James; Bernard Geoff, RADA parish manager for Hanover, and extension officers Courtney Taylor and Devon Ricketts.
Issues covered throughout the day included, the definition and basic principles of organic farming, developing a farm plan, record keeping, neighbouring land use, soil management, crop production, crop rotation, manure management, among others.
In an interview with JIS News, Mr. Geoff informed that the training days had started last year and the intent was to conduct 96 sessions by March of 2005. However, there was a setback due to Hurricanes Charley and Ivan and only 76 workshops have been held to date.
Notwithstanding, the RADA parish manager said that the farmers have been very supportive of the training days, and “were turning out in good numbers”.
“We are also happy to have the support of the private sector, which has been assisting in the sponsorship of these field days, and also providing resource personnel for us,” he said.
Mr. Geoff pointed out that the aim of the field days was to improve the productivity of the farmers in the parish.
Meanwhile, Jeremiah Smith, one of the farmers, who participated in the training session, said he was glad for the frequency and quality of the training provided by RADA.
“Agriculture is something that helps the people, but nowadays the farmer needs a lot of technology and the people in RADA are the trained persons who know about the technology. So when we have field days like these, they really reach out to the farmers and it would be nice if we could have a field day almost every day,” he told JIS News.

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