Farmer Simeon Greene
News
November 29, 2022
Farmer applauds Taiwan for introducing Banana Revitalisation Project

Farmer, Simeon Greene has praised the Taiwan International Cooperation and Development Fund for introducing the Banana Revitalization Project just when he was on the verge of abandoning banana cultivation on his farm in Perseverance.

Greene said that the location of his farm is what one would call, “a hotspot for diseases” because of the heavy rainfall. He said after the establishment of the Taiwan Project, he was able to maintain his farm because of the information and resources that have been provided to help control the Black Sigatoka, a disease that has been decimating banana holdings across the world.

Greene, who has been integrally involved in the banana industry at varying levels for many years, was speaking at a ceremony at Grenadines House on Thursday, November 24 held to provide a final report on the Banana Revitalisation Project.

The project was launched on May 6, 2019 and concludes on December 31, 2022.

It was done through the Ministry of Agriculture with the support of the Taiwan Technical Mission.

“Generally, we know the Taiwanese, you’re a friend of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, I can testify to that,” Greene commented.

He reminded that he once held the role of Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture “so I know what I’m telling you and I think you have done a good job, and we look forward to cooperating with you. Madam Permanent Secretary [Neritta Gittens] and Chief [ Renato Gumbs] we say, we are not allowing bananas to die…we’re not killing bananas because whatever we can do, we will do it so that we can have food, we can have bananas in our schools for the children to eat and we can have bananas to sell” to countries in the region.

“We pledge that we will cooperate with you and continue this programme in some way or the other so that the banana industry can remain,” Greene added.

He pointed out that food security is an issue in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and throughout the Caribbean and so the training provided did not only focus on banana production but also dealt with irrigation techniques.

“I remember the last set of training we did in collaboration with IICA (Inter-American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture) where the Taiwanese found it necessary to have us deal with climate smart agriculture, [such as] issues of drought, how do we deal with it, and little techniques on backyard irrigation. I really enjoyed these training sessions. “

Greene said now that urea is on the ground, he understands that there is an expectation of application of NPK. He said he hopes that farmers can get it before the project comes to an end because they would not like to just apply urea, but to have the NPK (nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium) mixed with the urea, so that production can move forward.

Senior Specialist, Taiwan ICDF, Pascal Kao said the programme aimed to upgrade farmers’ capability of cultivation management.

Through this: one demonstration farm was established in Orange Hill; four farmers demonstration fields were established; eight workshops for demonstration field achievement observation were held; 14 farmers training were held; rationalized fertilization area of 280 hectares were promoted; and fungicides and mineral oils needed to control Black Sigatoka and strengthen the spraying of 280 hectares of banana plant were provided.

The programme also aimed to improve the technical capacity of extension officers. Therefore: six extension officers were trained to have the abilities of banana disease prediction and investigation; complete advanced training in Taiwan Banana Research Institute was provided to two officers; an Epidemic notification system was built to notify farmers every week; an integrated pest management (IPM) model was introduced; and 31,206 banana tissue culture seedlings were produced.

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