Sweet Yam Farmers get Help to Fight Disease


Sweet Yam farmers in South East St. Ann, whose crops have been affected by the anthracnose fungus, are being assisted by the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) to save their crops.
According to RADA Acting Parish Manager, Pedro Worghs, since August of this year, the farmers have been observing an unusual discoloration in the leaves and vines of the sweet yam crop.
He said that extension officers collected samples of the leaves, vines, tubers and soil and brought them to Bodles Research Station in Old Harbour for testing.
Mr. Worghs pointed out that the results of the tests identified the causative agent to be the fungus anthracnose, which caused the leaf and stem to die.
On the recommendation of RADA Senior Plant Health Specialist, Phillip Chung, who visited some of the affected farms last week, the fields are being treated with the fungicides, Topsin and Sancobez. Spraying and observation of fields is being conducted every 14 days. “The disease has seriously affected the production of the present crop but the intervention made will have an impact on the new crop that will be planted in 2005,” he said, while encouraging the farmers to continue to care for their sweet yam crop.
Sweet yam is the most popular produce grown in South East St. Ann and forms the economic backbone of communities such as Bensonton, Harmony Vale, York, New Hall, Grierfield and Lincoln.

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