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Farmers urged to be proactive to prevent pests, diseases

Published:Saturday | May 27, 2017 | 12:00 AMShanique Samuels

Farmers in flood-affected areas of the island are being urged to be proactive in treating soil and crops to prevent attacks from pests and diseases in the aftermath of the heavy rains.

Chief technical director in the Ministry of Agriculture, Dermon Spence, explained that when there is excessive rain and water settlement there will be diseases and organisms such as bacteria and fungi proliferating.

"The fact is we have seen some of the water damage and the onset of water settling over crops creates a condition that is favourable for their (bacterial) proliferation and as the water draws from the soil and the bacteria in the soil decreases, the farmers will have to do some amount of soil testing before begin planting to see the condition of the soil," he said.

As for those crops that have survived the rains and flooding, Spence says farmers should use the fungicides, insecticides, bactericides and other chemicals recommended by the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) to facilitate a quick recovery.

"This can be complemented by fertilisation with certain kinds of nutrients and all this information is available at the parish RADA offices to help give the farmers a quick start," he advised. 

Spence's comments came after a tour of several communities in northern Clarendon where hundreds of farmers lost crops and livestock.