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Operation Cut Back commended by Agronomist Claire Amar

Operation Cut Back commended by Agronomist Claire Amar

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Following a two-day visit to St. Vincent, Agronomist Claire Amar has commended the Ministry of Agriculture for implementing its “Operation Cut Back” initiative.{{more}}

She is also encouraging farmers here to continue the process in order to combat the Black Sigatoka disease.

Amar, an agronomist researcher with twenty years’ experience, is attached to the International Co-operation in Agronomic Research for Development (CIRAD) in Martinique. She arrived in St. Vincent on Tuesday, accompanied by her colleague Simon Fournier.

The objective of the visit, according to Amar, was to advise the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines on matters of Black Sigatoka and follow up on the evaluation of varieties resistant to the disease.

While on island, the two visited various Black Sigatoka affected banana fields to experience firsthand the state of the fields.

During a press briefing on Wednesday, at the Ministry of Agriculture conference room, Amar reported her findings to the media and said she was pleased with what she observed.

“Extensive work has been done to cut many fields affected by Black Sigatoka, and a large percentage of some fields are managed properly,” she stated.

She, however, noted that there are some farming practices that need to be addressed in order to better control the disease.

“They must complete the cut-back process of the abandoned fields and practice deleafing where there is evidence of the disease,” she said.

Special emphasis must also be placed on how farmers place the affected leaves on the ground after being cut from the tree, according to the Agronomist.

“The leaves must be placed on the ground with the side that is exposed to the sunlight facing downward. This ensures that the fungus dies in two weeks instead of five months if the leaf was placed the other way,” she added.

Amar also recommended that education of all farmers must intensify.

Amar and Fournier left the country on Thursday.

They will return to CIRAD to do further research on their findings here. Upon completion of their research, the findings and recommendations will be sent to the Ministry of Agriculture.

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