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Belle Vue Farmers Better Able To Manage Diseases For Improved Vegetable Production

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More than 25 vegetable farmers from the Belle Vue Farmers’ Cooperative and surrounding communities in Soufriere and Chousiel are now better able to prevent and manage diseases following the completion of grafting training made possible by World University Service of Canada, through its Sustainable Agriculture in the Caribbean (SAC) Project.

Soil-bourne diseases are a common challenge for vegetable farmers, often resulting in significant produce and earnings loss.

Dr Nadia Pacquette-Anselm, OECS Country Coordinator of the SAC project, said the workshop was designed to share key insights into how farmers can identify and mitigate risks associated with pests and diseases and properly manage them to reduce loss and ultimately increase their crop yields.

Additionally, the SAC project is keen on promoting environmental sustainability through the innovative use of vegetable grafting hence minimising the use of chemicals and its impact on the environment.”

Facilitated by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Food Security and Rural Development, the workshop provided theory and practical insights to deepen understanding of the intricate relationship between disease resistance, environmental factors, and agricultural practices.

“The general approach to disease control involves reducing the pathogen’s presence and altering the environment and the host plant to mitigate disease occurrence,” says Johnny Smith, lead facilitator and Research Officer at the Ministry of Agriculture. “The workshop introduced concepts like vegetable grafting, shade houses and soil sanitisation as effective methods to manipulate the environment and host characteristics to deter diseases.”

Cecile Innocent, farmer in Rabot Estate, Soufriere says, “I was unaware of the workshop. I decided to stop by to see what was happening whilst driving on the road. I am glad I stopped because of what I got to learn today. It will definitely help with my farming moving forward.”

Another farmer, Mark Remy shared “The last time I participated in grafting was many years ago, when I was a little boy at school. It’s great that after so many years my knowledge could be refreshed as I look forward to integrating this method in my farming. I cannot wait to go home to try.”

The Belle Vue community has long held its reputation as a pivotal hub for vegetable production. The cooperative plays a central role in supplying its produce to most of the hotels in Soufriere and its environs.

To further bolster the productivity of the cooperative, they were also the recipients of a soil blocker to enhance their nursery operation, which will enable the provision of grafted seedlings to its members and the wider farming community.

“We are building the capacity of our vegetable producers to combat biological stressors and break the disease cycle. A deeper understanding of the intricate relationship between disease resistance, environmental factors, and agricultural practices will enable our farmers to explore innovative approaches to keep their tomatoes, peppers, and other nutrient-filled vegetables alive,” says Pacquette-Anselm.

The Sustainable Agriculture in the Caribbean (SAC) Project is a five-year project being implemented by the World University Service of Canada (WUSC) with funding support from the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada (GAC).

The project, implemented in Saint Lucia, Dominica, Jamaica, Suriname and Guyana, seeks to strengthen the region’s food security efforts by promoting climate resilient agricultural practices that support the economic growth and prosperity of women and youth in agriculture.

SOURCE: World University Service

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Fantastic inititiative, would definitely love to see this brought to other farming communities.

  2. Barvo and kudos to this initiative couldn’t agree more on replicating in other farming communities.

  3. I don’t know if my comment will be disolved as usual, but,
    It is very good of you all farmers,may the LORD Almighty, bless the works of y’all hands.

  4. Feels good reading something like this every now and then amdist all the chaos. Dont know much about this organization or the project but there appears to be some merit in what they are doing. Lets hope this continues.

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