Farmer wants more to be done to tackle Black Sigatoka

The effects of Black Sigatoka on banana leaves
The effects of Black Sigatoka on banana leaves

One farmer, from Wesley, who has been affected by a recent Winfresh suspension of the purchase of bananas, is calling on the government to do more to tackle the spread of Black Sigatoka.

Black Sigatoka is a leaf spot disease of banana plants caused by ascomycete fungus and its presence was confirmed in Dominica in June 2012.

Lynn Edwards, who has been a banana farmer for the past 30 years, told Dominica News Online (DNO) that the government needs to “step up” to fight the spread of the disease

“I believe the government is not doing enough to tackle the spread of Black Sigatoka and I do believe they can do more,” she said.

According to Edwards, in order to contain the disease a cycle of spraying must be done every 15 to 20 days, however the government is providing a cycle once every eight months.

This amounts to just two cycles a year which, she said, is not enough.

Edward said she is trying her best to tackle the disease herself.

“I am trying my best to care for my banana farm to help fight the spread of the disease,” she noted. “I bought how many gallons of cooking oil, trying the best way I can, but the cycles are just not on time.”

She said the impact of the disease has been devastating to farmers in Dominica and the rest of the region.

“It is very hard for the farmers,” she said, adding that she recently took a loan to buy a truck but she doesn’t know how she is going to repay the bank.

She describes banana cultivation as her ‘livelihood.’

“All my life that’s what I do to make a living,” she stated.

Edward said because of Black Sigatoka, she is now operating her farm at a loss.

“Before the Black Sigatoka took over I used to make over 200 boxes of bananas, right now I make 60 boxes,” she lamented. “My income before was over $1,000, now I make under $1,000.”

Last week it was reported that distributor and importer of bananas,Winfresh, has suspended purchase from Dominica’s core farmers because of the poor quality of fruits caused by Black Sigatoka.

President of the National Fair Trade Organization (NFTA), Charles Watty, later said farmers should be back in business as early as this week.

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7 Comments

  1. Francis
    January 14, 2015

    In the early, there used to the spay man who would go to the different banana fields and spray the bananas. Why can’t the association bring in some spay machine and the pesticide and give the to the farmers on credit
    and let them pay back at a reasonable rate and let them spay their own fields instead of having to wait on the Government who only do it once or twice a year.

    • Peter Potter
      January 15, 2015

      Because Dominicans have a problem with paying back money they do borrow!

  2. Mangro Gutter Farmer
    January 13, 2015

    Francisco, you dont know Lynn Edwards man? Thats Elkaner Edwards sister. Alvan Edwards daughter. One of the best and most successful farmers in Dominica.

  3. Francisco Telemaque
    January 13, 2015

    Mr. Wesley, farmer, I am a king born in the mud of Wesley, and I am here to tell you: you and the rest of the farmers in Wesley, and Dominica for that matter are fighting a loosing battle, that is a disease transmitted in the air, very difficult to isolate, if you read the quote below you will see that the only successful eradication of the disease took place only in North Queensland.

    Mind you the problem exist for more years than you can begin to imagine; it is predicted the plants will be whipped out anywhere the plants exists, and that includes Dominica! And nether Skerrit, nor Bazil can do anything about that!

    “North Queensland in 2001 – the successful eradication of the disease was a world first. Reinstatement of mainland Australia’s disease-free status for black Sigatoka occurred in 2005.”

    Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque

    • January 13, 2015

      Mr. Telemaque if north queensland did it we can do it the only way in which it cannot be done, is if it is impossible . we can succeed, only if we can stop the partisan politics with this crisis.

  4. Just Thinking
    January 13, 2015

    This is touching magwa sa cooking oil the lady had to purchase to help her banana field and to think of all the thousands we paid artists during the election campaign. Those artist who have already made their thousands and did not really need our thousands. I am feeling sorry because my parents were farmers and it was fig money that sent me to school. Alas THE CRY OF THE BANANA FARMER. Is anyone in Government listening?

  5. grell
    January 13, 2015

    Farmers of Dominica when will you all get it,Skerrit doesn give a hoot about farmers.St.Lucia and othe islands invested millions to combat the disease,Skerrit spent his millions to bring home the diaspora voters to make sure he stays in power,more are going to start to feel the pressure in the months to come.This does not get it that dominica was made by the almighty for farming,but he has other plans on living his lavish style while the poor continue to suffer,Skerrit i hope you read thes comments.you have a price to pay brother.

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