by Linda Straker
Though fewer plants are available to start off the 2017 plant distribution season as compared to 2016, Agriculture Minister Yolande Bain-Horsford informed members of the Lower House of Parliament that by the end of the year that figure should increase by almost 50%.
Addressing the matter during last week’s sitting of the House, Bain-Horsford told members that only 53,471 plants were available for distribution when the plant distribution season opened last week Wednesday. In 2016 there were 60,107.
“The intention is that as of the end of the year it will be 95,000,” she said. She called on farmers to not just pick up the plants but to pick up and plant them out in their farms and gardens.
“We hope that farmers will not have the plants in their backyard but put the plants out. We want to see them planting the plants,” she urged. Over the years there are reports that several farmers will collect the plants and instead of replanting them they are sometimes left unplanted, while there are farmers who need plants and cannot get.
The plants which cover a wide cross-section of fruits and other crops are propagated mainly at the Mirabeau Farm School and sold at minimal cost or a subsidised price.
Bain-Horsford also informed the House that in the area of Praedial Larceny farmers made 269 reports resulting in 79 arrests and charged, 78 prosecuted, 95 settled out of court, and the rest still under investigations.