With the onset of the 2019 rainy season, the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands has officially opened the Plant Distribution season.
This season, which runs from July to December 2019, would focus on the distribution of crops inclusive of soursop, nutmeg and cocoa. During the period the ministry aims to distribute 40,002 plants, throughout distribution centres islandwide.
The ministry held a special 2-hour ceremony at the Mirabeau Plant Distribution Center to commemorate the opening of the season, with Minister of Agriculture and Lands, Hon. Yolande Bain Horsford declaring the season open. Addressing the opening ceremony, Minister Bain Horsford underscored the ministry’s efforts to deliver high-quality planting material to the nation during the season.
“The commencement of the plant distribution season is very significant as it provides the ministry with an opportunity to showcase the hard work of the workers of the different distribution stations. The efforts of these workers are evident in the high-quality planting materials made available to the nation’s hardworking farmers. It has always been my strong belief that access to high-quality planting materials is fundamental in achieving success in crop farming.”
Plants sold during the exercise are produced at the 4 different propagation stations located at Mirabeau and Boulogne in St Andrew, Ashenden in St David and Maran, St John. The ministry through the plant distribution exercise encourages farmers to reestablish fields and increased production of crops.
Chief agronomist within the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, Shira Baldeo said that the ministry has decided to increase the number of plants that will be made available to the public despite prolonged periods of drought that has been experienced.
“In 2018, we had 39,719 plants available at the beginning of the distribution season, we produced 89,145 for that whole year.” Despite the erratic weather patterns and prolonged dry season, we now have 40,002 plants available for the opening of the distribution season, 283 more plants than what we had in 2018.”
Baldeo also mentioned the number each crop that is available. “Now the plants we have available include 11,583 cocoa plants; 9,232 soursop, 3,959 nutmeg; 1,454 mangoes; 1,066 avocadoes; 421 breadfruit; 321 golden apples; 225 coconuts; 2,191 minor spices; 4,040 ornamentals; and 5,510 minor fruits and other minor species.
With soursop one of the crops being pushed, she added, “In the case of soursop, in the first instance 5,000 would be made available in early August, another 5,000 early September and another 5,000 seeds will be made available for later demand.”
The Mirabeau plant distribution centre and farm input services which included Farm and Garden, Huggins, Renwick and Thompson, Chinese Agricultural Mission, Climate Smart Rural Enterprise Development Project (SAEP) exhibited a number of their products at the event.
The plant distribution will continue at the various plant distribution centres across the island.
Plants available include soursop, avocado (pear), mango, guava, breadnut, carambola, red and yellow plums, sapote, star apple, sugar apple, cinnamon, cocoa and nutmeg.
Ministry of Agriculture and Lands