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Farmer encourages colleagues to diversify, stop worrying

Farmer encourages colleagues to diversify, stop worrying

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A Belmont man who has been planting bananas for over 20 years is calling on fellow farmers to join the diversification process and “stop worrying”.{{more}}

Author Samuel, who walks to his lands in Argyle daily, said he is now planting not only bananas, but also other crops, including peanuts, potato, and corn.

During a visit to his peanut field on Friday, Samuel explained to SEARCHLIGHT that his banana farm was “hard hit” by the black sigatoka disease, but he began planting other crops after Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar advised him to diversify.

Samuel said he has had no regrets since taking up the initiative two years ago.

He has used the monies earned from planting those other crops to purchase some of the materials needed to attend to his banana field, which he is replanting.

“I am encouraging other farmers to plant other crops in the meantime. But I am not coming out of banana because it is the best crop for me still.

“I done reap out a fourth set of peanuts and I actually going to plant back again. This time I am also planting some potato and corn,” Samuel said.

Samuel also disclosed that he has successfully followed the Ministry of Agriculture’s guidelines for Operation Cut Back and Plant Back and so far his banana field is recovering.

“All the disease (black sigatoka) is not gone. There are still a few in there but the field is green again and the few bunches of bananas look good,” he further said.

Commending the farmer for his efforts, Caesar said Samuel’s actions are the sort of practices the ministry is requesting other farmers to adopt.

“This is the sort of diversification I was talking about, where persons who are affected by the black sigatoka can now diversify into something outside of bananas.”

He, however, reiterated the call for persons not to misconstrue the Ministry’s efforts at diversification in meaning an exit from the banana industry. (AA)

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