Relief for farmers affected by Black Sigatoka

The effect of Black Sigatoka on banana leaves
The effect of Black Sigatoka on banana leaves

Prime minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, has announced that the government will soon be making “a serious package” available to farmers whose crops have been affected by the deadly fungal disease, Black Sigatoka.

Speaking during the closing debate on supplementary estimates in parliament on Wednesday evening, the prime minister said the package will be  announced in the next week or two.

“In the next week or two the government shall announce a special package for farmers who have been affected by Black Sigatoka, and those who will be interested in diversifying and planting new crops while we continue to treat the Black Sigatoka in Dominica,” he said.

According to the prime minister, the disease is proving to be a challenge for farmers since the chemical used for treating it is very expensive.

He said the government has been soliciting the assistance of farmers in the fight against the disease because their absolute cooperation is necessary.

“There are still farmers in Dominica who do not want us to come on their farms to treat and to deal with the Black Sigatoka,” Skerrit pointed out.

He also said the bulk of a recent shipment of fertilizer from Morocco will go towards farmers affected by the disease.

Black Sigatoka was first detected in Dominica in July, 2012.

It is a leaf spot disease of banana plants caused by ascomycete fungus.

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29 Comments

  1. SHELLOCH HOLMES
    March 23, 2014

    you got more than one thing to do as manager but you attend to emergencies first .we call that TIME MANAGEMENT.the farmers are managing any way so we do things that cannot wait.All the uneducated people own a computers so read their comments and you know empty vessels make the most noise.Farmers bears with us we are coming to you,you have waited for two years and now we say two weeks

  2. trouble
    March 22, 2014

    Pure dictatorship, one man band, one man show. One thing I know, all shows come to an end. Stop playing with people lives and emotions. If the Prime Minister does not win the election, you know he is gone to the USA. His foundation is being laid already. Wife in the USA and child in the USA. He is set for life. What is going to happen to our children when he live us in all these mess and financial ruins, and all creditors will come knocking. “Food for thought”.

  3. trouble
    March 22, 2014

    From a little child I also know the saying, “A stitch in time saves nine” Why Dominica farmers had to hit rock bottom for the Prime Minister to assist. Why Lord, why? When there is any kind of disease, be it in animals, crops, or human beings, we have to work on the cure immediately. When we let it fester, it is harder and more costly to cure. Sometimes, its too late to do anything.

    Please Prime Minister, stop playing with people , present and future life. You are not God, if your his child and you are our servant, stop doing thing for your own interest, and in your own time. We are just passing on this earth. “What your legacy will be when you pass away, and when you have to face the Creator. Love one another, and don’t love for selfish gains.

  4. Bushmaninda
    March 21, 2014

    The effects of this disease will go far beyond the Musa Acuminata if it is not treated with care and attention. Many farmers simply abandon their diseased fields, leaving the fungus to fester and go on the other crops thinking that the Black Sigatoka will not affect their new chosen crop. This is short thinking because it does not include the possibility of the disease mutating for survival. The right thing to do is to eradicate the fungus in the affected fields. An effective eradication program must include all fields and both the private and public agricultural interests. The bushmaninda hopes that this special package for farmers who have been affected by Black Sigatoka will provide incentives for those farmers to help cleanup their infected fields and thus speedup an end to this destructive disease on our beloved Dominica

  5. Anonymous
    March 21, 2014

    Serious package for banana farmers, bulk of fertilizer from Morocco for banana farmers. Mark you is only banana/plantain farmers that can get affected by black sigatoka. So what about the rest of we non-banana farmers. PM you forget is only YAM we doing in penville.

  6. Annica Alethea
    March 21, 2014

    In the 1970s the late Elford Henry was held responsible for his incompetence of handling the leaf spot disease which plagued the island.
    At the end of popular protests Elford Henry was fired. Ath that time the DBGA, Dominica Banana Growers Association, had full responsibility for the banana industry. They were responsible for the aircraft spraying, distribution of inputs and marketing of bananas.
    The government has taken up the responsibility of the banana industry and has killed it.
    The root of the Black Sigatoka disease is in the numerous abandoned banana farms, so it is impossible to control the disease when there are abandoned farms that remain unattended.
    Where is the Minister of Agriculture, who is he? Do we have a director of agriculture? Carol Abraham was brought in as coordinator of Black Sigatoka, but without any support.
    The Black Sigatoka could have been control were it not for some high level of incompetence. The money Skerrit is going to hand out in this pre-election period will be a waste of scarce resources.
    The money can be best spent with the government putting together a brigade of people to enter abandoned farms and eliminate all the affected plants.
    Then they move to the productive farms that are affected and implement the necessary control measures. Plants that are affected are destroyed and the farmers are compensated based on their loss.
    The other farms that are not affected should be assisted with inputs and technical support to protect and prevent the disease.
    The Black Sigatoka brigade should then be trained as first responders to attack the disease on any farm where the symptoms appear.
    Dominica now has less than 1000 acres of land in banana production, therefore to dish out thousands of dollars to farmers who are not farming will be a travesty and a vote catching gimmick.
    I’m prepared to give my expertise to the government of Dominica FREE OF CHARGE, but the Minister of agriculture should be fired.

  7. Bogoroy
    March 21, 2014

    You have my support, PM. This assistance is money well spent. However, i want you to consider firmer action to deal with the non-compliant farmers.

  8. Shim
    March 21, 2014

    A government at work; unlike those lazy blue vex noisemakers.

  9. Razor
    March 21, 2014

    Well done, PM! Great initiative.

  10. Anonymous
    March 21, 2014

    Some many
    negative comments coming from reports that government i offering help to farmers? there is really too much politics in everything in Dominica. this government is working like they always do and whoever don’t want to see or acknowledge it, tough!

  11. Anonymous
    March 21, 2014

    That’s what a working government does and with all the spending he doing he still is able to keep our treasury in sound financial condition.

  12. funky
    March 21, 2014

    14 years of promise

  13. FARMER
    March 21, 2014

    SKERRIT is working to hard, he needs a rest or leave from politics before it hurts him.. I say this because he is in-charge of all ministries including doing PS, FS and DIRECTORS job. alas I feel sorry for him, poor boy.

    on another note, the statement saying, farmers whose crops have been affected by the deadly fungal disease, Black Sigatoka will be given a package is not the way to destroy the fungal..
    the government has to treat the whole island because plants which act as a host plant which the virus do not affect but can hide within those plants eg baliziere, a plant with leaves that resembles a banana leaf, these plants are in abundant in the east and high altitude areas like pond casse, corona, layout, artley, penville etc…

    they need to bring in new resistant plants, chemicals and put money, real money into agriculture. also fire Mathew walters de waste of time piece of [email protected]#$%

    we need to use spray planes and use the cut and burn method. simply spraying one field where the farmer is active wont prevent the fungal from spreading to other abandoned fields.

    BUT IS AMAZING WHAT THE GOVERNMENT WILL PROMISE WHEN THEY HAD 14 YEARS TO MAKE AGRICULTURE SOMETHING AND REALIZE THE TIME IS AT HAND.

  14. pedro
    March 21, 2014

    That’s just an election ploy. Who feels it, knows it.
    We can’t be fooled again. We are the Farmers and our livelihood have been destroyed by this Labour Government.
    Time up, pack up,

  15. mujahardin
    March 20, 2014

    The last time we heard publicly from the distinguished Dominican plant pathologist, Dr. Fagan was on Q95. He told the world that he offered The government help to deal with the black sigatoka problem and he was blatantly ignored. Dr. Fagan died over a year ago and his valueable services were discarded by the skerrit gang. Dr. Fagan’s experience and qualifications are impeccable. Around the same time we had no less a person than Dr. Clayton Shillingford one of the the most accomplished agricultural research scientist in the Caribbean Region. Dr. Shillingford went as far as providing the ministry of agriculture with clean plants (cultivars) to start a replanting program as you get rid of the infected plants. The agriculture ministry allowed all the clean plants provided by Dr. Shillingford to die. For months they sat allowing the disease to ravage bananas. When they were confronted by Dr. Shillingford on the animal program concerning the deliberate neglect of the meaningful assistance offered by Dr. Shillingford, Ambrose George told Dr. Shillingford on kairi that he Dr. Shillingford should have taken control of the ministry of agriculture and direct from the ministry the campaign to eradicate black sigatoka in Dominica. It has long been clear since months ago agriculture minister Walters told the world that government has placed agriculture on the back burner that this government has absolutely no interest in agriculture. We the farmers of Dominica know very well that skerrit has no interest in us. His only ihterest is that he gets our vote which would allow him to stay in power enriching himself while Dominicans become paupers. This announcement by skerrit sound like it comes from Charlie Jong, Hartley Henry and David Huis.

  16. Change is a must
    March 20, 2014

    Don’t we pay a Minister of Agriculture? Does everything have to get a political spin? All these 21 lacky ministers should resign forthwith.

    • john paul
      March 22, 2014

      according to mighty DBS Skeritt’s favourite calypsonian “Roosevelt Skeritt is a good government” this junk he got from Morocco cannot be suitable for Dominica,because a bag says fertilizer on it does not mean it is good for anywhere.Fertilizer is specific you need to add what you lack even little Dominica has to have different types of fertilizer.Skeritt tired telling untruths just to fool the voters.make Him pay at the polls.stop the lies and deception.where are these farmers who dont want their bananas sprayed?The government never have enough smh

  17. truth
    March 20, 2014

    how long will you allow skeritt to fool you?
    Thank him for what>? For breaking your two foot and give you a bitchee to walk with
    For two and a half years since thgey brought the disease here he never saw the need for a package ,till now ,sir do someone have to think for you all the time?
    WHY ?
    SIR this is not a farmers relief ,Rather it is a election stratigy,as soon as election is passed ,all promisses will end and you will be left alone again like the four years past,Its a government of promisses,
    Its a prime minister of promissesIt was the next level promissed ,and this time is, so eat the last supper being promissed
    SO eat ,eat ,eat
    BUt remember ,all you are eating is promisses,which hardly carries any substance ,and you will never be filled

  18. FAST N FURIOUS
    March 20, 2014

    @ Omgosh Man Is this the best comment you can write?…Why not say ..Thank you. You All haters always think of the negative.Which is more important?Receiving the package or the person talking about the package?

    • creative
      March 20, 2014

      The truth really hurts.

    • Anonymous
      March 22, 2014

      What took the Government so long and they still only promising….. but i guess better late than never some farmers may avoid complete devastation. smfh

  19. OMGosh Man
    March 20, 2014

    Isn’t there a Mister who currently responsible for the Ministry of Agriculture? Why i ask? because all we are hearing is “Prime minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, has announced” c’mon man… This is a one man show or what?

  20. Oh No
    March 20, 2014

    Why is there always a political twist, emphasis or connotation when the community is assisted. It is the RESPONSIBILITY of the government to improve the lives of it’s citizens, and mitigate circumstances which may be beyond their control.

  21. Enox
    March 20, 2014

    How sad to say the least. The government was so tardy in treating the outbreak of th. Black Sigatoka, now they are saying there are farmers who don’t want them coming to their holding to treat the fungus. How about telling the public that the first shipment of oil from from Venezuela was not what is recommended for bananas exported to the UK. Why couldn’t they get an emergency shipment of oil like to other countries did when their crop was threatened. Instead the prime minister went to Morocco to get fertilizer from his king in order to do damage control to the affected industry…. Shame on you Mr prime minister. How long, not too long!

  22. Enox
    March 20, 2014

    How sad to say the least. The government was so tardy in treating the outbreak of th. Black Sigatoka, now they are saying there are farmers who don’t want them coming to their holding to treat the fungus. How about telling

  23. IFF I WUZ
    March 20, 2014

    Parry,I would tell the Prime Minister that it is the Venezuelan Government responsibility to pay for the Special Package as regards assisting the farmers. It is alleged, the deadly fungal Black Sigatoka originally came from Venezuela. The misly US $64,000 given to us a few years ago was chicken feed.

    • funky
      March 21, 2014

      remember when the agricultural officers had to say outside the Venezuelan base in Melville hall because the soldiers had received a plane load of agricultural produce from Venezuela and the agricultural and quarantine officers we made impotent by the PM… I WAS THERE AT THE GATE

      so let us ask the real question…WHO SHOULD WE BLAME FOR THIS?

      WHO REALLY IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS

  24. Anonymous
    March 20, 2014

    It’s good that the PM is assisting the farmers. But has anyone else noticed that lately every time he opens his mouth he announces another round of spending?

    Where is all this money coming from and who is he expecting to pick up the tab later?

    Contrary to what some people might be lead to believe, this is not free money.

    • Razor
      March 21, 2014

      Who “lead” you to beleive that the assistance to farmers is free of cost to the state? In which world do you ever know that anything is totally free of cost?

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