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WINFA to manufacture organic fertilizers

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Over the past week, technical staff from the Windward Islands Farmers Association (WINFA) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Transformation, Forestry and Fisheries (MARTFF), as well as a core of producers in the agricultural sector received capacity building and training as part of the on-going process of technology transfer necessary for the organic fertilizer development project, launched last August 2015 by WINFA.{{more}}

The project is being undertaken with support from Latin American and Caribbean Fairtrade Small Producers (CLAC) and the MARTFF, and is part of a broader regional programme within WINFA to promote productivity and efficiency in the sector.

The initiative comes as a response to concerns about excessive chemical applications in the agricultural industry and its negative impacts on soil health and productivity.

WINFA is the first producer organization in the subregion to embark on this type of technology.

“On a more comprehensive scale, the bio fertilizer development project has the potential to contribute to more than half of the Sustainable Development Goals and to climate change resilience building,” said coordinator of WINFA, Kozel Peters-Fraser.

As part of the programme, a large part of biodegradable waste, normally discarded, will be collected and used in the manufacturing of a line of organic agricultural products. The products produced will be in the form of organic nematicides, fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, bacteriacides, among others. These products are expected to reduce environmental damage, increase soil health, support integrated pest management, are safer and present less risk to human health.

The production of organic probiotic products is expected to bring huge savings to the country, as it will also aid in the control of the dreaded Black Sigatoka disease and the cost of fertilizers, which are two of the significant constraints to the competiveness of regional agriculture.

The establishment of demonstration farms to validate the effectiveness of the technology is being funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) small grants programme in St Vincent and the Grenadines; while the farms will begin applications in May 2016, the large scale production will commence apace from June 2016.

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