Business

Agriculture best practices shared at Long Coffee seminar

Alicia Sutherland
Observer staff reporter
sutherlanda@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

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LONG COFFEE, Manchester — For many “seeing is believing”, particularly when faced with a situation in which there is more to lose than gain.

Such was the reason for scepticism when, in late September, farmers attended a seminar at Restore Pentecostal Church of God in Long Coffee, north-east Manchester, to be introduced to imported brands of organic fertilisers a majority had never used.

Organisers of the seminar not only took samples and talked about them, but ensured farmers benefited from testimonials and demonstrations.

The products that were pushed to stimulate root and plant development in a more natural manner included Bombardier, Batallon and Rhyzo.

South-East St Elizabeth farmer, Peter Brown said thatthe tomato is one of the hardest crops to maintain and told how he used the products with it specifically, at different stages of growth.

He said farmers can use them with crops such as Irish potato, sweet potato and others that they are accustomed to planting in their respective areas.

Anthony Trout, of the Agro-Investment Corporation, said he was not necessarily promoting brands of fertiliser, but as an organisation they are able to take more risks than individual farmers in order to test a new product.

He said that it was his company's way of helping farmers to know what products have been proven to work.

Trout, in his presentation, informed the attendees how a variety of onion was successfully grown in an area of Clarendon.

“Sharing technology is a passion of minister,” said Dimitri South, special assistant to Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Audley Shaw, the Manchester North Eastern Member of Parliament

He said that Shaw would like farmers to be productive in business and increase their earning.

At the same time, Dr Clover Mattocks, chairman of the Continued Education and Examination Committee for the Jamaica Veterinarian Board, vice-chair of the Jamaica Dairy Development Board, and director of 4-H Clubs in Jamaica urged the farmers to demonstrate their worth by continued development of how they do business, because they are involved with an important industry.

Dr Mattocks said that agriculture has been a part of life from the beginning but technology is changing the dynamics of how it is done.

She said that non-communicable ailments such as cancer are linked to how crops are grown, but farmers have a hand in finding a balance-considering both innovation and safety — because there is an increasing population that is dependent on what they do.

Dr Mattocks also suggested that organic fertilisers could also be used to produce some of the specialised grass that animals feed on.

Manchester North Eastern farmers Pearl Bailey, Bertram Henry and Maureen Boucher told the Jamaica Observer that the seminar was meaningful and that they had plans to try all or some of the products.

At the same time, Jerome Simpson, a farm store operator in Devon, said that he intends to have the organic fertilisers in stock.

Representatives of Kimitec Group in Spain, producers of the fertilisers, collaborated with Kingston-based distributor Growers Choice Avery's Organic Fertilisers to have the seminar and were among the stakeholders present.

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