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Ministry of Agriculture assesses banana farms

Ministry of Agriculture assesses banana farms

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The assessment of farms which suffered losses during Hurricane Tomas was expected to be completed by today, according to Rueben Robertson, Chief Agricultural Officer and member of the committee established to rehabilitate agriculture across the country.{{more}}

Robertson addressed the nation on Tuesday November 2, 2010, the first of several broadcasts which were to be made during the week, to give updates on the rehabilitation of banana, plantain and other crops.

During the broadcast on Tuesday, Robertson urged farmers and backyard gardeners to fully co-operate with the team which will be assessing the damage done to the farms. He stated that arrangements have been made for all banana farms, except those which had been abandoned before the arrival of the storm, to be assessed by using WINCROP assessment forms. The forms, Robertson said, were made available by the respective agricultural extension officers.

Robertson stated that the committee is aware that farmers are eager to begin replanting crops. He, however, stressed that farmers should wait until their farms have been assessed. He advised farmers who have began making holes to replant crops, not to clear away the damaged crops until after they have been assessed by the team.

He also urged farmers who have begun replanting to desist from moving plant material from one field to another, so that the Moko disease, which may be present on some farms, will not be transmitted. He further urged that farmers wanting to replant crops to establish contact with the extension officers of their district who will be able to supply them with planting materials, where necessary.

For more information, persons may contact extension offices at Wallilabou at 456-0310, the Dumbarton office at 458-5326, and the New Grounds and Rabbacca office at 455-9477.

The total cost of the damage in the agricultural sector has been estimated at $67 million, with the majority of losses being in banana and plantain.(OS)

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