Barbadian farmers will soon have an opportunity to earn "a few dollars more" when they participate in the Barbados Agricultural Society’s (BAS) soil testing exercise.
Word of this has come from Chief Executive Officer of the BAS, James Paul, who said: "Year after year, Barbadian farmers have been losing money in agriculture, and with the current economic crisis, they are at their wits end as to what they can do to turn the situation around."
Also in agreement is Miami-based soil scientist, Dr. Terrence Fullerton, who revealed that Barbadian farmers have been killing their soils by continually applying "one- size fits all" fertilizers.
"The soils of all the good agricultural lands have become degraded and infertile due to traditional agricultural practices that use little or no fertilizers.?? Plants have nutrient requirements just like humans and will suffer from deficiencies just as people do," Dr. Fullerton opined.????
According to Mr. Paul "farmers can start seeing immediate returns and reap successes like they did 25 years ago if they get their soils tested and follow the recommendations".
To this end, the BAS has teamed up with Dr. Fullerton and Eastern Caribbean Fertilizer to conduct eight field seminars at different farms throughout the island, from Monday, May 18 to Thursday, May 21.
"We want to make sure that we reach the farming community on the ground where it all happens, so we are taking this success message on the road. We will be targeting various farms from River, St. Philip; Broomsbury, St. Thomas; Spring Hall, St. Lucy; Thorpes, St. George; Newcastle, St. John; the Pine, St. Michael; Bawden’s, St. Andrew and Gibbons in Christ Church," the BAS Head explained. He added that on Friday, May 22, Eastern Caribbean Fertilizer would host an open day at their plant in Uplands, St. John with a door prize of ten 50kg bags of fertilizer to be won.
Also in support of BAS’ initiative is Minister of Agriculture, Senator Haynesley Benn, who lauded the scheme and pointed out that soil testing week was an instrumental step in getting the agricultural sector back to its rightful place of prominence.
"Our lands cannot sustain the high production levels years after year, unless we replenish the nutrient supply," Senator Benn asserted.
Meanwhile, farmer, Michael Forde, who has been in agriculture for the past 26 years, explained: "You can’t apply fertilizer based on a feeling.?? We have achieved consistently good yields through the years because we always follow our soil test recommendations."
Previously, in the absence of a soil test, farmers were advised to use the fertilizer, 12-12-17+2. However, the "one-size fits all" method became obsolete years ago as farmers worldwide recognised they were making more by applying the exact fertilizer crops required instead.
Farmers are being urged to pre-register with the BAS to ensure a spot at the seminars.
Further information on Soil Testing Week may be obtained by contacting the Barbados Agricultural Society or the Eastern Caribbean Fertilizer Co. Ltd at telephone numbers 436-6683/4 and 433-2740, respectively.??