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Plane back for more aerial spraying of banana fields

Plane back for more aerial spraying of banana fields

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After ten weeks of absence from the sky, because of mechanical problems, the aircraft used to do aerial spraying of banana fields infected with Black Sigatoka{{more}}, has recommenced duties.

The S2R-T34 aircraft resumed flights on Monday, after operations were halted for repairs to be done to the muffler and electrical system of the plane, and for other routine servicing prior to inspection by the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority.

Just before takeoff at the airstrip located at Rabacca, Duncan Richardson, the pilot of the aircraft for the past 37 years, expressed confidence that with the upgrading of the aircraft, its services are guaranteed for another 30 years.

A release from the Ministry of Agriculture said that 11,000 gallons of spray oil, fungicides and jet fuel are available for spraying in 2012.

It was also revealed that the ground crews responsible for spraying the fields have also received new machines and the Ministry is in the process of procuring other machines to outfit more spray teams.

“The Ministry will also be assisting farmers with fertilizer commencing during the week 5th November, 2012, for farmers who are a part of Operation Plant Back,” Minister of Agriculture, Saboto Caesar said.

The Minister noted that he is working at both the local and sub-regional level to put in place the most efficient disease control regime to ensure that the spread of the Black Sigatoka disease is controlled.

“The struggles to control the disease were not unique to St Vincent and the Grenadines. However, our national rate of success will be dependent on us creating the necessary partnership among all stakeholders in the industry – Ministry of Agriculture, Winfarm/Fairtrade, Winfresh, SVG Producers, and traffickers to the region.”

Farmers are also encouraged to continue the necessary farm practices which are advised by the technicians within the Banana Service Unit and to boldly approach the control of the disease.

“Farmers simply cannot allow ourselves to become intimidated by Black Sigatoka. We have simply come too far over the last year to turn back now,” the Agriculture Minister stated.

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