Crop farmers from the north of the island are poised to gain some additional insight into better and more productive farming practices.
The opportunity will come on Tuesday, June 10, at 9:30 a.m., when Extension Officers from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Extension Services Unit and the Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (BADMC) jointly host a Field Day at the Spring Hall Land Lease Project in St. Lucy.
Farmers from the parishes of St. Lucy, St. Peter, St. James and St. Andrew are especially invited to attend the Field Day, which will allow them to interface with extension officers who serve as a vital link between them and the Ministry.
As part of the educational component of the exercise, farmers will benefit from two presentations on the ‘Safe Use of Pesticides’ and ‘Integrated Pest Management’ by Michael James and Brett Taylor of the Ministry’s Plant Pathology and Entomology Units, respectively.
In terms of pesticide use, Mr. James said that farmers will be provided with pertinent information on all aspects of its use, including the importance of labelling as well as adhering to and calculating the correct amounts.
“It is not simply a case of deciding I am going to spray any brand of pesticide,” he cautioned.
With regard to Integrated Pest Management (IPM), he noted that this went beyond pesticide use.
“IPM speaks, not only to the use of chemicals, but the use of different control strategies in order to mitigate against different pests. It includes the proper rotation of crops, deep ploughing and other agronomic strategies including gauging the best time to spray fields.
“The idea is to bring our research work to the farmers in a context that they can take all of the positives from it. For instance, the different fertiliser regimes or varieties, why you use one technique as opposed to another – this is all shown to the farmers and they see how it works,” he added.
Extension officers provide advice to farmers in a number of areas, including the planting of crops, record keeping, and access to financial schemes. They also help to highlight the practical application of the Ministry’s research by showing farmers the ways in which the research findings could be beneficial to them.