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FOA to help fight beet armyworm battle
2012-10-22 13:50:12 | (0 Comments)
Christopher Serju, Gleaner Writer
Beet armyworms feeding on a plant on a field in St Elizabeth - File Photo
The United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) is to provide technical support to Jamaican farmers to respond to the problem of the beet armyworm, which has been wreaking havoc with escallion and onion cultivation in Southern St Elizabeth.
“It is going to be done in a different way,” said Florita Kentish, FAO Sub-regional Co-ordinator for the Caribbean.
She says the effort will not be a one-time attempt at controlling the Beet Army Worm.
“We’re working at the level of the farming population, doing a farmer field school approach,” she explained. “It’s going to be hands-on, the farmers are going to understand the whole management of events because we believe that even if you have many operators going out to train that will not be the solution to the problem.”
According to Kentish the project will use an integrated approach, shown to be correct way to successfully deal with pest problems and the FAO will provide all the assistance necessary.
Agriculture minister Roger Clarke could not put a dollar figure on the project or speak to its duration but welcomed the assistance, noting that it was in response to a formal request in light of Jamaica's failure to eliminate or control the pest.
“We had approached them for help and we hope to sign the agreement Thursday which will see them very much engaged in what we’re doing in terms of eliminating or controlling these worms,” Clarke told The Gleaner during the Caribbean Week of Agriculture in St Kitts last week shortly after the FAO indicated its approval of the project.
Opposition spokesman on agriculture, J.C. Hutchinson has accused the ministry of taking a lacklustre approach to the farmers’ plight.
During the last outbreak the worms affected a wide variety of crops including escallion, pepper and onion.
Only last week, Bunny Barnes, a farmer in Lititz, St. Elizabeth complained to The Gleaner about the devastating impact of the pest on crops in that community.
“We are suffering because of the beet army worm. Any field that they get into, they eat it down within a day and then move on to other properties.”
Source: The Gleaner/Power 106 News
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