PR – Efforts to resuscitate local banana production continues, as the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Lands supports Banana Farmers and other key players of the sector.
Having successfully completed trainings in plot establishment, agronomic practices, irrigation and fertilizer application of bananas early in 2020, the Ministry continued its training in the area of Pest and Disease Management for farmers who received clean planting material in June 2020.
The fourteen farmers were engaged in Pest and Disease Management, focusing on control measures for the management of the Moko Disease and Black Sigatoka, which have significantly impacted the production of bananas in Grenada.
Adhering to the COVID-19 health and safety guidelines, the Ministry hosted two training sessions. The first was on Oct. 7 on the farm of Ronald Charles and the other on Oct. 14, on the farm of Claudius Pierre.
The training was facilitated by Chief Pest Management Officer in the Ministry, Thaddeus Peters. According to him, this is a step to increase banana production.
He said, “This is very important. For us, we know that bringing in tissue culture for farmers to plant is nothing new. We want to ensure that this time around that, whatever resources are put in,
we see the desired benefits. This is the reason why we have undertaken the training – to follow the tissue culture plants that were distributed earlier this year to fourteen farmers.”
This is the fourth session held by the Ministry relating to banana production. Farmer Ron Alexander, who received 600 tissue culture plants in June, was a participant.
“Just as we are doing now with the current COVID-19 pandemic and sanitizing our hands and surfaces, this training has taught us that sanitization is also key as part of effective Pest and Disease Management for bananas,” he said.
“This training helped me a lot with the development of my bananas. I can walk through my field happy, knowing that I am much more equipped in keeping Moko Disease and Black Sigatoka under control,” said Ronald Charles.
Visiting Banana Farmers who were part of the in-field field training session, Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Lands, Hon. Peter David, told farmers that their efforts will be vital in helping to increase local output. The Agriculture Minister is also confident that with the incentives and organization, Grenada could get back to producing enough bananas so there will be no need to import that commodity.
“This banana production is for local consumption. We need to have people eating locally. This is a priority, because we need to get sufficient bananas so we don’t have to import. This project is extremely important for food security, “he said.
The Ministry is aiming for the multiplication of the disease-free crops that can be distributed to additional farmers.