castle bruce farmersSome 20,000 banana plantlets brought in from France are now ready to be transferred to the farms.

On Friday, July 3rd selected farmers in Castle Bruce got their batches of approximately 700 plants to be planted on one acre of land that has already been prepared.

The farmers say the mature crop can be ready in seven months.

It has taken three months for the plants to get to this stage; they arrived in April as tissue culture and were transported to the agricultural station in Portsmouth where they spent six weeks being weaned.

They were then moved to another facility for the hardening process.

Team Leader for the East Agricultural Region, Marcus Phillip is positive that the farmers are well prepared.

“Banana production in the district is nothing new to the farmers however one of the biggest challenges would be the Black Sigatoka disease. The farmer will have to ensure that the nutrition[of the plant] is maintained and best practices employed.”

The Hon. Minister for Agriculture, Johnson Drigo says all is in place to get Dominican bananas back on the European market.

“Over the next week, we will be distributing he plants to all of the farmers. The farmers have been trained and the Ministry has ensured that all the required chemicals are on island. We are teaming up with the Black Sigatoka team, Fairtrade and WinFresh to supervise the process. Our commitment is to get back on the European market. The farmers will be getting all the support they need,” he assured.

He revealed that an additional 4,000 was received in anticipation of losses so more farmers were recruited for transplanting.

The farmers are enthusiastic about the move and are confident that their plants will do well.

According to Adrien Bannis, “We are back in production.”