Amid efforts to increase the production of sugar cane and food crops in Barbados, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security has set out to determine the fertility of agricultural lands through a regional programme conducted by the Kingdom of Morocco.
The announcement was made by Deputy Chief Agricultural Officer, Leslie Brereton, as he delivered remarks at a Soil and Equipment Field Day, held recently at the Central Agronomic Research Station, located on the Ministry’s Graeme Hall, Christ Church compound.
According to Mr. Leslie, Morocco was assisting Barbados and some of its regional neighbours through a BDS$1.3 million Soil Fertility Mapping Programme, to identify the soil types within their respective countries. He said the data collected would give local agricultural authorities a better idea of the soil profiles in various areas, such as mineral and nutrient content, and would ultimately be used to create a Soil Fertility Profile for Barbados.
“Soil Fertility Mapping would, in fact, allow farmers to plan better to use the right combination of fertilisers to optimise plant growth,” he added, noting a document would be developed in this regard, upon completion of the programme.
The Deputy CAO further disclosed that the Ministry was also working with Mount Gay Rum Distillery to increase soil fertility through the use of vinasse, the residual liquid left behind after the fermentation and distillation of alcohol.
The topical application of vinasse to agricultural lands, he explained, would create a chemical reaction, allowing the release of nutrients within the soil, thus resulting in an environment more conducive to the cultivation of food crops.
Mr. Leslie also stressed the importance of these undertakings, stating: “Soil is also a natural resource…. We have to take grip of this and make sure that we have sufficient lands to ensure that we can continue to grow [sugar] cane in rotation with other crops.”