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Ministry continues to educate farmers about GAP

Ministry continues to educate farmers about GAP

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The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries is continuing its programmes to educate and inform farmers about the importance of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP).{{more}}

GAP is aimed at meeting consumer needs for products that are of high quality, safe and produced in an environmentally and socially responsible way.

Approximately 60 farmers were involved in two workshops held on March 26 and 27 respectively. The workshops dealt with two major issues of GAP; Record Keeping and Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

The Workshop on GAP and record keeping was held at the Vermont Community Centre and was attended by close to 25 farmers from surrounding areas.

Agricultural Officer Dan Richards, in making his presentation on the topic, told the receptive farming group that farming can no longer be done in a “business as usual” fashion as the marketing business related to farming has evolved.

“We have to change. The world is changing and as food producers we have to do likewise,” he said.

Expanding on his call for change in the farming business, Richards pointed to the recent development in the marketing arrangement signed between the Windward Islands Banana Development Exporting Company (WIBDECO) and the Windward Islands Farmers Association (WINFA) Fair Trade.

This development, he said, proved strongly why change was inevitable.

He said GAP highlighted the concerns of food production and food security, and record keeping was mainly moving the information from the head to putting it on paper.

He also told the farmers that locals had to learn to eat what was produced in this country to counteract the high rise in food prices.

The farmers also participated in group sessions which provided a first hand experience in proper record keeping.

Farmers attending the IPM workshop held at the Dauphine Community Centre described it as “interesting and educational,” One farmer said, “I learned a lot of things that I didn’t know before and I will go back and do them.”

The session was interactive and exposed the farmers to information on IPM, the justification for IPM and Pest Control techniques. It was presented by Agricultural Officer Dan Richards.

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