Sat | Sep 23, 2017

Trelawny farmer takes aim at problems

Published:Monday | May 8, 2017 | 5:00 AMLeon Jackson

WESTERN BUREAU:

A critical stakeholder in the agricultural sector in Trelawny has labelled climate change and praedial larceny as two of the major factors negatively impacting farming in the rural parish.

Speaking at the recent launch of the parish's 2017 Farmer's Month celebrations, Selena Ledgister, the parish manager for the Trelawny Association of Branch Societies of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), says plans must be put in place to address climate change and praedial larceny.

"When the parish's champion farmer (Herbert Bell) lose ten of his prized goats in one night, what is there to say to him, continue to be a goat farmer?" asked Ledgister.

Bell, who has been farming for over 40 years, recently lost the goats, which were the prize of his stock, to thieves, among those lost was his much-prized ram. Another top farmer, Huntley McGreggor, recently had several of his cows stolen.

With regard to climate change, Ledgister noted that the unusual rainfall has caused soil erosion in south Trelawny, where crops were destroyed in mudslides; and land, rich in nutrients and that was prepared for cultivation, got washed away.

According Ledgister, the time has come to educate the parish's farmers about matters such as terracing, which will prevent soil erosion.

"Climate change is not just in the unusual rainfall, but also in sustained drought. I have not seen many dams which can harvest rainfall," said Ledgister. "This harvested water can help provide water when the drought comes around. Trelawny needs mini dams."

 

Teamwork essential

 

According to the JAS official, it should not be left to farmers alone to deal effectively with climate change.

"One can go fast alone, but together one can go farther," said Ledgister, who used the opportunity to encourage members of the 25 groups and relevant stakeholders operating in the area.

In an effort to help farmers, Ledgister has organised an agricultural expo at the Hague showground for May 11.

The expo will bring together various stakeholders in agriculture to educate farmers about matters such as pig management, broiler management and crop management.