JIS News

Crop cultivation in Clarendon is being boosted through a nursery operation set up by the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA).
Parish Manager for RADA’s Clarendon office, Percival Shaw, explained that the provision of the nursery has helped to improve the quality of planting stock available to farmers, by ensuring that planting materials are produced in an acceptable manner and that the correct medium is used so that seedlings receive adequate nutrients.
He noted that previously, farmers would sow seedlings in open areas, which are prone to the adverse effects of animals or rainfall.
“We saw that there was a need to produce seedlings in a more accessible manner. At times when in the open, seedlings will become infected with viruses due to the intrusion of insects, so we provided an area that is insect proof under reasonable conditions,” he explained.
Noting the costs involved in obtaining seedlings, Mr. Shaw is encouraging farmers to utilize seedling trays to ensure a high percentage of germination and maximum return on investment.
Currently, the nursery supplies seedlings to farmers for agricultural projects. Requests are also taken for specific plants and different varieties.
“We mainly produce based on order because we do not want to have them here and they cannot be sold,” Mr. Shaw told JIS News.
The crops mainly produced by the nursery are hot peppers, sweet peppers and tomatoes, which are in high demand by the processing industry.
“We have a great demand for hot peppers right now so we try and produce those [seedlings]. Red peppers are purchased by processors who usually come in and purchase from the farmers,” he informed.
Hot pepper, a non-traditional crop, contributes more than US$1 million to the country’s economy per year.