Technical Training In Soursop And Guava Production For Farmers And Extension Officers Of The Ministry Of Agriculture 

PR – The Ministry of Agriculture, through the OECS Regional Agriculture Competitiveness Project (AGRICOM), has offered to extension officers, farmers, and other technical officers, methods of improving their capacity in the  agronomic management of tree crops. 

More than 20 participants were exposed to four days of technical training on the advancement of  soursop and guava cultivation. 

The activity was the first in a series of technical training exercises being coordinated under the  Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and facilitated by Technical Expert, Dr. Abel Reboucas.  The training focused on the cultivation of soursop and guava, the economic importance of the  crops, their genetic aspects, varieties, pruning, and fertilisation. 

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Elvis Morain, impressed upon the participants  the need to use the knowledge garnered to enhance their management of these particular crops.  

He said, “This is important so that we can lift the quality of our exports.” 

This aspect of the AGRICOM Project falls under component three which seeks to build capacity  in the agriculture sector. Project Coordinator, Gregory Delsol, explained the reason for selecting  guava and soursop.“Soursop has become an emerging export crop for Grenada. We have a unique  advantage in that Grenada is the only country that can export fresh soursop to the United States,”  Delsol stated. “We believe that we can get better yields if our farmers start to do some of the  practices that were explained and demonstrated by the facilitator.” 

Guava, he said, is used extensively in the agro-processing sector, and as such, was ideal for the training provided.

The training had both theoretical and field components, with participants being brought to the  farms of two seasoned farmers: Gregory Hagley for the production of soursop and Keith Clouden  for information on guava. 

Participant Nigel Gibbs, who is also the Supervisor of Propagation, said his propagation methods  will now be tweaked to ensure that the plants are protected from diseases.“When we grew soursop  before, I did not understand the connection between the phytophthora and the anthracnose and the  level of nitrogen that is present in the plants. We learnt from the training that it is a magnet for  those diseases, so in my fertilisation regime within the nursery, I now know that I have to  manipulate my nitrogen input in such a way that the plants would not attract the unwanted disease  in the phytophthora and anthracnose,” he said. 

Farmer Vernice Cadoo said she is grateful for the knowledge she gained on pruning. “I now know  how to prune, and I am looking forward to the benefits. I was against pruning of my guava trees  because I felt that the tree was losing too much but now that I know, I will be making this a regular  practice,” she said. 

Extension Officer, Melissa Tyson looks forward to sharing her new found knowledge with farmers. She said, “I am hoping that by transferring this knowledge to farmers, they would see an increase  in their yield.” 

The AGRICOM Project aims to improve competitiveness in the agricultural sector. With seven  more training sessions to be held, the ministry hopes that at the end of the project, there will be at  least 12 functioning productive alliances that will be contributing to the overall development of  the sector.