St. Ann JAS Urges Farmers to Participate in Training Activities

Parish Manager for the St. Ann Branch of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), Dennis Steele is appealing to the farmers in that parish to participate in the activities which have been planned to observe Farmers’ Month (April). He emphasized that farmers could benefit from training, which is aimed at helping them to upgrade their agricultural skills. “The parish is presently celebrating Farmers’ Month and we are going through with training days in different areas of the parish,” Mr. Steele told JIS News.
He informed that training sessions were recently held in Bensonton, Douglas Castle, and Retreat, with the final session slated for the district of Endeavour on April 30. Mr. Steele said that the sessions have been successful so far and that participants have been accessing valuable information in areas such as composting, fertilizer application, pest control, disease control, chemical usage, coffee cultivation, and vegetable growing.
“In order to upgrade the agricultural skills of our farmers we will be continuing with the training into the month of May and we will also be conducting a seminar some time next month as well because we want to ensure that these farmers seize the opportunity in learning how they can maximize their crop production,” he said.
Noting that the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) was active in the training sessions, Mr. Steele said that the opportunity was being used to register farmers for the Agro Business Information System (ABIS).
The JAS also has agricultural receipt books on sale for farmers who are already registered.
“There are approximately 15,900 farmers who are registered in the parish and these farmers are supposed to have their receipt books so that if they should be stopped on the road with their produce they can show their receipts,” he said, adding that the JAS would be going into the different areas within the parish to sell the receipt books.
Meanwhile, he said the JAS would continue to do its best to assist farmers to market their produce, as “crops such as yellow yam, cabbage and lettuce are in bountiful supply in the parish and our farmers are having problems in finding markets for these crops now”.
“We are trying really to increase production but what I think the farmers should do is find a market before production starts because it can be so frustrating to find that at the end of the production there is no market,” he said.
Mr. Steele is encouraging the farmers to cultivate crops that can be easily marketed and to diversify cultivation so as not to cause a glut on the market.

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