VOL. 24 NO.

5 • DECEMBER 2013

$1M SAFE TON ACHIEVEMENTS

FREE COPY

Ebony Park Academy’s director/principal Robert M. Green (1st l) accepts donation cheque valued at $250,000 from technical sales manager, Newport Mills Limited Winston Thomas (6th l), while students and staff look on.

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College of Agriculture, Science and Education’s dean of agriculture, Dian Medley (1st l) accepts donation cheque valued at $250,000 from Newport Mills Limited representatives. Knockalva Agricultural School and Sydney Pagon Agricultural High School got similar donations. The four institutions received Nutramix feeds valued at $1 million as part of the company’s celebration of “1 million safe ton” achievement. Newport Mills’ technical personnels offer lecture to the students on different aspects of livestock production and care.

LONDON (JIS): eteran agriculturalist and executive chairman of the Sugar Industry Authority (SIA) Ambassador Derrick Heaven has been elected Chairman for the Council of the International Sugar Organization (ISO). Ambassador Heaven who was on November 29 elected during the meeting of the ISO Council in London starts his term in office on January 1, 2014. He told JIS News that chairing the ISO will put him in touch with events, which are important to the sugar industry in Jamaica. “I will be able to speak with the movers and shakers in the international arena,” he said, adding that this is important given the changes now taking place with Jamaica’s main sugar market, the European Union (EU). As chair, Jamaica will host the next meeting of the ISO Council in Montego Bay in late May, and it is expected that more than 100 delegates will attend. In addition to the ISO Council meeting, Ambassador Heaven attended the ISO’s 22nd International Seminar on Commercial Success for Sugar Crops, which was attended by some 500 international delegates and looked at investment, innovation and efficiency in the sugar industry. He was also involved in the meeting of the United States (US)-based International Sugar Trade Coalition. Ambassador Heaven told JIS News that the meeting dis-

Heaven Chairs International Sugar Council

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cussed the very serious issue that has now arisen in the US, with the oversupply of sugar from Mexico under the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the implications for other countries including Jamaica, which also exports sugar to the US. Ambassador Heaven is also chairman of the board of directors of the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE)

Ambassador Derrick Heaven Chairman Elect Council of the International Sugar Organization

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ovember has been designated “Eat Jamaican Month” by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries for the past ten years. The campaign which is the brainchild of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) president, Senator Norman Grant, aims at encouraging Jamaicans to consume local foods in order to boost local agricultural production. Under the theme, "Grow what we eat; Eat what we grow," the campaign was launched in 2003 by former Governor General, Sir Howard Cooke who by way of a proclamation, said the essence of this 'Eat Jamaican' campaign was borne out of a vision for us as a nation to 'grow what we eat and eat what we grow.' The 'Eat Jamaican' campaign was launched at a time when Jamaica’s food import was at US$487 million, while farm export stood at US$150 million and the Jamaican dollar was experiencing significant devaluation. It was bad and required some solutions. The campaign which includes a yearly event is being funded by the Ministry of Agriculture and a few private sector companies.

'Eat Jamaican' but Fix the Food Import Policy
EDITORIAL
by PATRICK MAITLAND

DECEMBER 2013 • THE AGRICULTURALIST • 3

Focal Point

The opinions expressed in this newspaper, except for the above, do not necessarily reflect the views of The Agriculturalist and its publishers. Please send your comments or suggestions to editor@theagriculturalist.com. Responses should be no longer than 400 words. Not all articles will be published.

Both Senator Grant and Minister Clarke have been consistently telling Jamaicans to “Eat local food” in support of the campaign. Nonetheless, based on our evaluation, it would appear that most Jamaicans get the message despite a significant yearly jump in food imports that now stands at US$1 billion. In our opinion, the “Eat Jamaican” campaign as a stand-alone strategy will not stem the influx of imported farm produce, “lift the morale of our farmers or reawaken their appetite for production while, at the same time, attracting new and young farmers to the sector.”

Publisher -The Agriculturalist editor@theagriculturalist.com

If we are serious about reducing food imports and increasing domestic production, the Government must consider more practical and far-reaching strategies. As stated in a previous editorial, the Minister of Agriculture office must take full responsibility for the importation of all agricultural produce and selected foods in keeping with the Government’s trade policy. The food import permit which is issued and signed by Minister of Agriculture based on the advice and discretion of his marketing staff is a part of our food problem.

The farming sector and other stakeholders are not regularly included or consulted when import permits are being issued. Under the current policy, it appears to be a very private and closed-door decision between the Ministry and the respective importers. As a result, cheap and sometimes poor quality farm foods are allowed to enter the market and compete unfairly with Jamaican farm produce. Our domestic production output is facing serious challenges. The “free-for-all import policy” is putting excessive stress on the farmers’ ability and resources to produce more. The Minister should therefore consider reviewing the policy of issuing food import permits. We are suggesting importers appear at a public hearing to defend their permit applications. The Marketing and the Economic units at the Ministry should also provide the relevant empirical data to justify or deny importation applications. If the “Eat Jamaican” campaign is to be successful, we must fix the food import policy.

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ince 1992, Jamaica has removed foreign exchange control, thereby allowing the value of its currency to be determined by daily market forces. This has resulted in devaluation of the Jamaican dollar as the country is unable to meet the demand for its major foreign currencies. One of the major implications of devaluation is that it makes foreign products relatively more expensive for domestic consumers. The Bank of Jamaica data shows that the Jamaican currency relative to the US currency for the period 2007 to 2012 has devalued by 28 percent. The inference from this analysis indicates that the devaluation of the Jamaican dollar is a factor that contributes to rising food prices in Jamaica. However, the devaluation of the Jamaican currency has a number of effects on local consumers. These factors include: higher prices for food especially imported items or those dependent on imported intermediate inputs such as poultry meat and bread. Difficulty in acquiring adequate food to satisfy daily nutritional requirement as poultry meat is the most popular protein source and regular price increases will have a debilitating effect on the nation’s vulnerable, especially the less fortunate and the children.

Devaluation- an opportunity for Jamaica’s agricultural sector
By Wayne N Peart
In promoting the utilisation of local foods, greater efforts must be made to increase the number of local produce on the list of top ten commodities consumed by Jamaicans. For example, sweet potato is generally regarded as the perfect food in terms of nutrition, yet it is not included on the food list. In addition, Jamaica has the technical capacity to significantly increase yams production and consumption. One vehicle that could be used to promote local food consumption is the collaboration between the Ministry of Agriculture and the other government institutions such as the Ministry of Education, which has agreed to use local fruit juices in the national school feeding programme. By increasing local production of intermediate inputs such as corn, sorghum and cassava for the production of animal feed and beer manufacturing, respectively, will reduce the impact of devaluation and cost of production of the respective locally produced foods.

OPINIONS

-Wayne N Peart is an agricultural specialist. He holds a BSc. in Agriculture from the University of the West Indies, a Diploma in Project Management (IDB trained) and has over twenty years experience working in various areas of agriculture in Jamaica. Peart is currently the owner and managing director of Garden Tech Company Ltd. Send comments and feedback to gakp20@hotmail.com.

Less disposable income for non-food items such as savings, investment, education and entertainment as this is further aggravated by the current wage freeze for public sector workers. However, the agricultural sector must be used as a tool to reduce the impact of devaluation of the Jamaican dollar on local food prices. The Ministry of Agriculture should seize this opportunity to increase local agricultural production. Some of the areas that should be targeted include increase domestic food production as local produce are less sensitive to the effects of devaluation and will become relatively more price competitive than imported foods. This can lead to increased demand for local produce. The Ministry of Agriculture must move with utmost urgency to implement the Agri-Parks programme as one ways to increase local food production.

Advertising Executive: Tricia Reece Consulting Editors: Vincent Wright, Jairzenho Bailey

Publisher & Editor: Patrick Maitland

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editor@theagriculturaliSt.com

Agri Life Foundation Ltd AMC Complex, 188 Spanish Town Road, Kingston 11, Jamaica, W.I. Tel: (876) 923-7471• 923-7428 Fax: (876) 923-7428 agriculturalist@gmail.com editor@theagriculturalist.com www.theagriculturalist.com

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NEWS

DECEMBER 2013 • THE AGRICULTURALIST • 5

Head of Delegation of the European Union in Jamaica, Ambassador Paola Amadei (3rd l) raps with Jamaica Agricultural Socieity (JAS) directors (l-r) Royston Johnson, 1st vice-president; Norman Grant, president; Derrick Vermont; and Grethel Sessing at the society’s recent monthly meeting held in Kingston.

MEETING WITH THE LEADERS

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an-Caribbean Sugar Company has forked out US30 million to replace the mill bearings which were stolen from the Monymusk Estate earlier this year. The 26 stolen bearings, each weighing half a ton, were valued at J$28 million. A statement from Pan

Replaced mill bearings cost Pan Caribbean Sugar US$30 m
Caribbean said the new bearings have arrived in the island and will be quickly installed to ensure the timely start of the Monymusk factory for the 2013/2014 Sugar Crop. The company is still offering a 100-thousand dollar reward for the recovery of the stolen bearings.

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Old harbour, St. Catherine: resident of the Republic of Haiti Michel Martelly says two agricultural enterprises he visited in Jamaica on November 15, are worth replicating in his country. The President and Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Roger Clarke toured the Jamaica Broilers production facility in Spring Village, and the Government’s Agro Park in Amity Hall, both in St Catherine. A section of the park is used by Caribbean Broilers to grow sorghum (a replacement for imported animal feed). President Martelly told journalists that the employment of 1,600 people at the Spring Village plant was of particular interest to him. He also took special note that the enterprises reduce the need for imports. “This is a good way to bring money into the country, instead of importing all goods,” he said. “I was very happy to see that, and the fact that Jamaica Broilers is investing in Haiti. The enterprise down there is much smaller, but we expect to grow bigger and allow more people to get jobs in Haiti,” the President said, while outlining the effort that he will be making to establish agro park-type

Haitian President Says Jamaica Agricultural Enterprises Worth Copying

facilities in Haiti. Meanwhile, the Minister of Agriculture said he and his Haitian counterpart, Jacques Thomas, have met and identified areas of collaboration between the two countries. The Haitian minister, according to Clarke, has pointed to specific ways in which Jamaica can help their agro-sector. “We can share our experience with him, and he has already noted some of the things that he would like me to move forward with him, and we are going to be working very closely to make sure that something concrete happens,” the minister said. President Martelly and his 11man delegation, who were in the island on a three-day State visit, left the island on November 15.

Michel Martelly President, Haiti

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Three pesticides approved for post-harvest of yam in Jamaica
NEWS
From MOA, Communication & Public Relations

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amaica has been given approval for the use of three pesticides in the post-harvest treatment of root tubers, including yams destined for export to the United States of America. This comes as a result of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) committee’s efforts in having alternative pesticides to Botran

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By Judith Hunter ermanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Donovan Stanberry, is appealing to consumers to “make it Jamaican” as much as possible this holiday season by consuming locally produced foods. Speaking with JIS News, Stanberry said that there is an abundance of local produce for the season. He noted that the domestic food crop sub-sector grew by 8.5 per cent during the July to September quarter and further growth is expected for the October to December quarter. “Yam production is at a record high, so much so that the price has gone down considerably and the banana sector has rebounded after it was severely impacted by Hurricane Sandy last year. There is an abundance of both ripe and green bananas and plantains,” Stanberry stated. He noted further that “for the thirdyear running, we have not imported a pound of pork to

Enough Locally Produced Food on the Market for Christmas
make ham, which is heavily consumed during the Christmas season. As a matter of fact there is an over production of pork so much so that we are actively pursuing export as an outlet to rid ourselves of the excessive pork that has been produced.” Stanberry credited the growth in the pork industry to improved genetic material and the support that the Ministry has been providing to the pig industry, as well as the huge investment by the farmers and other stakeholders.

which up to this point was the only approved chemical for use on yams. The pesticides are Thiabendazole, Boscalid and Pyraclostrobin. According to the Office of Pesticide Programs, for the three pesticides listed above, there are tolerances established on yams for each. These tolerances are established by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the authority of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

The Ministry is now undertaking efficacy tests and residue determinations of these pesticides when used in a post-harvest management programme. Additionally, the Ministry has sensitized over 100 fresh produce exporters regarding the FSMA and conducted training in post-harvest management. It is important to note that the number of yam detentions has fallen significantly from a high of 41 last year to a single detention so far in 2013.

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ALL-ISLAND BANANA GROWERS ASSOCIATION
The Banana Board on their 60th Anniversary Celebration
All Island Banana Growers Association 10 South Avenue, Kingston 4 aibga@cwjamaica.com • 922-5497 Congratulates

As it relates to egg production, he said that “we do not expect a shortage of eggs either, as there should be sufficient to meet the demand.” He mentioned, however, that the supply of locally produced potato has been exhausted and the Ministry has been importing Irish potato since October, to supply the local market. “But even as we continue to import, we will also plant the fall crop. We are on target to produce enough Irish potato to increase our level of self sufficiency next year, over and above the 85 per cent we attained this year,” he stated. Meanwhile, Stanberry noted that the farmers markets, which were introduced about two to three years ago, have been rationalized. “They were introduced to absorb excess production but we are way up the learning curve in terms of synchronizing production with demand, because glut does not suit the farmer,” he explained.

amaica Broilers Group's newly acquired US operations helped it to achieve a sizeable increase in profit during the quarter ended October 26. Gross profits amounted to J$1.49 billion up from J$1.15 billion during the corresponding period last year. Revenues were up J$1.4 billion dollars at J$7.5 billion. Jamaica Broilers' acquisition of England Farms Incorporated in Arkansas and Hamilton's Smokehouse in Jamaica was completed during the quarter. ------------------------------------------

J$1.49 B Profits

Jamaica Broilers Gross

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n 18 year old student of the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE) in the eastern parish of Portland is in critical condition after he was stabbed on Sunday. The police report that the student and a 21 year old had a dispute which later escalated. During the argument a knife was used to stab the 18 year old in the side. The 21 year old is now in police custody. The student was admitted to hospital.

CASE student critical following stabbing incident

‘A true friend of the banana farmers’

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DECEMBER 2013 • THE AGRICULTURALIST • 7

Green Gold: Life, Health and the Environment

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(l-r) Accountant Sandra Johnson, Chief Accountant Lorace Drysdale, Laboratory/Office Assistant Arana Andrews, Extension Data Management Secretary Linda Henry, Research Data Management Secretary Grace Heholt, Procurement Officer Kedrick Randall, Corporate Secretary Carol Parchment, Project Accountant Martha Black and General Manager Janet Conie.

ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF

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o be the premier facilitator of the enabling policies of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries; coordinator and advisor to the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries for the industry; provider of disaster management, production and applied research services, and organizational support for a vibrant industry of commercially viable, competitive and diversified banana and plantain farmers, producing at international standards to adequately supply diversified markets and ultimately to be effectively responsive to the needs of the farming clientele.

OUR MISSION

vibrant industry dominated by internationally certified farms; effective market penetration and development; and supported by an enabling policy framework which results in sustained product competitiveness; financially viable farms and the socioeconomic wellbeing of communities.

OUR VISION

(Stooping l-r): Eastern St Mary Extension Officer Winford Madden, Eastern Portland Extension Officer Patrick Kissoon, Plant Pathologist/Research Coordinator Deborah Henry-Myers and Laboratory Technician Anthony Wright. (Standing l-r): Research Station Manager Errol Steen, Technology Transfer Officer Albert Watts, Western St Mary Extension Officer Desmond Edwards, Extension Coordinator Oral Lewis, St James Extension Officer Henry Graham, Western Portland Extension Officer Alfred Evrett, Eastern St Mary Extension Officer Winford Madden, Technology Transfer Officer Leslie Rodney, Laboratory Technician Pauline Hinds, Chemical Analyst/Agronomist Elaine Garwood and Director of Research Janet Conie.

TECHNICAL STAFF

BANANA BOARD
(Established October 1, 1953)

10 South Avenue, Kingston 4, Jamaica W.I. Tel: 922-2083 • 967-3592 • Fax: 967-3680
• Email: bbresearch@cwjamaica.com

8 • THE AGRICULTURALIST • DECEMBER 2013

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t must be in God’s divine plan for the banana industry, that 60 years ago, the Banana Board was formed by an Act of Parliament on October 1, 1953. It is my duty to share with you: What we celebrate, why we celebrate and where we celebrate. We celebrate a great public institution that quietly works to provide disaster management, production, applied research, fruit quality management and extension services to the Banana Industry. The Board also provides organizational support for a vibrant industry with diversified plant varieties, products and markets. We celebrate an organization of ordinary people who are called to provide extra-ordinary service. The Banana Board was formed to serve the banana farmers. We celebrate because in spite of the many challenges, the Board is quietly achieving its objectives to serve the banana farming community. It is not by chance that Jamaica celebrates with the Banana Board in St Mary where the highest banana and plantain production is achieved annually. This parish also has the highest number

Banana Board is quietly achieving its objectives
By ROGER CLARKE Minister of Agriculture

of internationally certified banana farms and agri-businesses that are owned by farmers who are true businessmen who have extended the value-chain into byproducts which are exported overseas and on-shore to resort hotels. Not to mention the tonnes consumed weekly in the metropolitan areas of Kingston, Portmore and other towns. The Jamaican banana industry has one of the most well managed disease control programmes for bananas and plantains in the region and the world. Farmers in St. Mary apply no more than 20 sprays per year to control Black Sigatoka disease. In other parishes where the disease is more severe, the applications never exceed 26 sprays each year. If you

believe this is high, just compare the farms in Costa Rica, Honduras and Mexico, where farmers are spraying every 5 days amounting to 70 applications each year. Why the success in Jamaica? Because God has blessed us with a team of scientists and extension officers in the Board who not only carry out research but also help farmers put into practice the findings and international standards of production. The officers are constantly being asked to assist other countries in the region to help

BANANA BOARD EXECUTIVE OFFICERS: (l-r) Corporate Secretary Carol Parchment, General Manager Janet Conie and Chief Accountant Lorace Drysdale.

manage their Black Sigatoka and Moko diseases. This is a major achievement of the Banana Board. With the demise of the export banana industry, many misguided economists believed that the scientific production methods and international certification standards achieved by the Banana Industry would become obsolete and unnecessary. However, every crop now requires these standards to be exported to North America and Europe.

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Achievements and Opportunities in the banana industry! T
The administration and operations of applied and breeding research programmes, extension services and project management was carried out in accordance with The National Policy for the Banana Industry 2009. The organization continues to successfully carry out its mission in October 2013, which is: “To be the premier facilitator of the enabling policies of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries; Coordinator and Adviser to the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries for the industry; provider of disaster management; production and applied research services; and organizational support for a vibrant industry of commercially viable, competitive and diversified banana and plantain farmers producing at international standards to adequately supply diversified markets and ultimately to be effectively responsive to the needs of the farming community”

he Banana Board is implementing the National Adaptation Strategy which was revised in 2012 and aimed at revitalizing the industry through the development of the value-added banana and plantain industry and to increase demand locally, while maintaining international standards of production, food health and safety.

Research subjects for the period of the report included time of planting, pruning trials, study of open-handness, premature yellowing, detailed studies and records of the performance of the Lacatan variety and leafspot control. Research laboratories were upgraded in the 1970s and it should be noted that in 1977 the Banana Board Research Station at Orange River, St Mary was a fifty-five acre property.

By Donovan Stanberry, Permanent Secretary, MOA & Chairman, Banana Board

Banana Research The Research Department of the Banana Board commenced operations on October 1st 1955 with recruiting of most of the staff being done in 1956. The department was established to cover a wide range of investigations aimed at addressing two main concerns: Economically viable means of producing high yields of marketable count bunches of bananas per acre during the summer months of the year - At the request of the All-Island Banana Growers Association directors. Reduction and control of field diseases and diseases on fruit shipped overseas. At the end of 1956 three divisions had been established: Chemistry and Crop Physiology; and Agronomy Plant Pathology. Research investigations were conducted island wide in cooperation with banana farmers instead of the then usual practice of establishing experimental research stations. The decision was influenced by the large number of soil types identified in the country. The laboratory of the research department was completed at the end of 1956. With the island-wide programme to replace Gros Michel, which was prone to Panama Disease, with disease resistant Lacatan, the situation was considered opportune for technical officers to do all their work in the field. This work involved the design of orthodox fertilizer experiments to provide data for the multiple correlations of soil analyses, growth and field records and fertility requirements of the different soils. Given the increasing dominance of the Lacatan (a Cavendish variety) 9,867,630 compared to 1,348,169 Gros Michel plants in 1956, a great deal of field records were taken to replace past work that had been concerned with the Gros Michel variety.

Recently planted Demo plot with FHIA risistant variety- Daniel Barnet farm Pembroke Hall St Mary.

The property was not irrigated and suffered severe drought in 1976-1977 but it provided thirty-seven tons of fruit for export & research work; produced 13,000 suckers for experiments and sale to farmers. Major achievements throughout the years have been work to improve fruit quality for export with the mini wet pack system being possibly the most significant in recent years. The next most significant intervention includes implementation of research findings and resistance monitoring to control Sigatoka disease. Today we can compare an average of twenty spray applications in Jamaica to seventy in Costa Rica. Other achievements have been the development of appropriate fertilizer regime, pest and disease control and the successful introduction of improved varieties while continuing to protect the important germplasm at the Bodles Breeding Station. The successful introduction of the FHIA varieties is of great significance to the changing production and marketing environment for the Jamaican banana industry and the new strategy being implemented for its improvement. The Mini Wet Pack, accompanied by effective bunch care such as early deflower-

ing, had the following advantages over earlier systems and compared with the Dry Pack system, resulted in significantly lower levels of latex staining and crown discolouration. The system produces fruit of good quality and cannot be distinguished from fruit processed in centralized wet packing systems. Some of the advantages are: low capital investment; in the event of increased levels of post-harvest diseases, facility in place to apply a prophylactic treatment; small farmers, at that time, were able to benefit from advantages of pricing systems based on quality without being affected by cooperative packing arrangements; and suitable for farms with limited water supply. The work of the Research Department in the improved management of the Black Sigatoka disease has resulted in the control of the disease in Jamaica being 5–18 percent of production cost as compared to Costa Rica where it is percent of production cost.

Other Banana Board Activities 1963-The replacement of the bunch system of purchasing bananas for export in cartons in 1963, resulted in the need to build boxing plants away from railway stations and closer to fields from which ba-

nanas were selected, dehanded, washed, treated with fungicide and packed in carton boxes and placed in refrigerated conditions on ships. Some plants were operated by the Banana Board and others by Independent growers 1995-Priority areas for attention identified as: Cultivation Management under three levels of technology to improve volumes of exportable fruits. Bunch care and post-harvest handling. Pest management with emphasis on leaf spot, nematodes and banana borers. Introduction of new varieties. 2008-GLOBALGAP & Fair Trade certification. Recapitalization of farms post hurricanes & storms – 2004 to 2011. 2010 to Present-Implementation of the Technical Service Contract under the European Union Banana Support Programme, technical support for value added industry, certification of farms and collection of data on domestic market. Certified Total Quality Management (TQM) systems /standards implemented and related protocols provided and for major diseases, pests and agronomic practices provided. Maintenance of more than 150 varieties & establishment of nurseries for FHIA. The introduction of the FHIA banana and plantain varieties highly tolerant to Black Sigatoka and nematodes and resistant to the Panama disease “killer of banana trees”. This has resulted in high demand for the FHIA varieties and low demand for other varieties. This variety results increased cost efficiencies of more than 30 percent and will form the basis for increasing production and the development of the value-added businesses in Jamaica which are currently supplied by imports. The banana is said to be the perfect food. Others believe the banana was “the fruit” which caused Adam and Eve to be ousted from the Garden of Eden. Currently, it is the second most marketable fruit world-wide and one over which many wars are fought in the New World and Europe, without the spilling of blood. In Jamaica we must not forget that it was the banana industry that provided the basis for economic development for independent Jamaica. Today even with the suspension of exports to Europe, bananas and plantains remain significant to our food security and source of income in six parishes in Jamaica. The Banana Board has always been a stabilizing force when the industry experienced shocks of various forms throughout our history. It fulfilled its mandate in the early years after its formation in 1953 and at other important cross-roads in our history. The Banana Board is called upon when the industry needs to be revitalized. The Government of Jamaica is confident that the Board will continue to innovate and pursue excellence in carrying out its mission to serve the banana and plantain stakeholders.

10 • THE AGRICULTURALIST • DECEMBER 2013

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Agri Life Foundation has been established as a non-profit organization to foster and encourage farmers to become more self-sufficient and competitive in a free market economy. One of the main ways that the Foundation will achieve these goals is through collaboration, professional support and advisory from experts in the field. Such collaboration will provide a platform where individuals from academia, business, government, and the farming community can share research-based information and technology regarding environmentally sound management and profitable agricultural production practices.
For further information:

Patrick Maitland Executive Chairman Agri Life Foundation 188 Spanish Town Road, Kingston 11, Jamaica WI Tel: 923-7471; 923-7428 • patland2000@gmail.com www.agrilifefoundation.org

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ccording to reports from Euromonitor International, rising demand for dark chocolate, which requires a higher cocoa content, is driving up cocoa prices, with China in the forefront of rising demand for dark chocolate. Some 34% of the retail value of chocolate in China comes from plain dark chocolate, up from a mere 7% in 2008. China for some time has been tipped as a major area for growth in chocolate consumption. According to industry analysts, “China represents a strong opportunity but products must be

Increases in chocolate and cocoa consumption
tailored to fit the market.” Dark chocolate consumption is also rising in other major markets. In Switzerland, some 30% of chocolate consumed is now dark chocolate, up from 8% in 2008, while in the US dark chocolate now accounts for 19.9% of retail sales. The growth in the use of cocoa in dark chocolate comes against a background of worries over cocoa supplies arising from production setbacks in West Africa, resulting from poor rainfall in Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and Cameroon. This has seen varied projections of the scale 209,000 tonnes (US-based KnowledgeCharts). These concerns led analysts in September to project that cocoa prices would stay “well supported in the six-to-12 month period”. According to Macquarie, US processors are “‘running close to full capacity’ well ahead of the traditional high demand periods of Halloween and Christmas”. This is held to reflect a process of stock rebuilding by chocolate makers in the face of “rising overseas demand”. Meanwhile, according to the website Agrimoney.com, “proces-

MARKET & TRADE NEWS

DECEMBER 2013 • THE AGRICULTURALIST • 11

zarnikow, which three months ago shook up the sugar market by pegging demand well above market estimates, hardened its stance, saying consumption growth may remain at higher rates. Growth in global sugar demand, which average more than 3% in the five years to 2008, had slowed to 1% three years later – a major factor in dragging New York futures down from a 30-year high of 36.08 cents a pound reached in February 2011. The average growth rate in sugar consumption in 2009-11 was just 1.3% a year – not much faster than world population growth which is a big driver of baseline demand.

Stronger world sugar demand 'here to stay'
However, this slowdown may prove a temporary hiccup, caused by the world economic slowdown and the elevated sugar prices – both of which have reversed. Trigger of civil disturbances' "The global financial crisis was detrimental to consumption growth rates as economic growth slowed, but in sugar the effect was even more acute as the market entered a threeyear period of production deficits and high prices," the London-based group said. "This impacted on supply chains. In North Africa a shortage in the availability of essential commodities, including sugar, became a trigger leading to civil disturbances and the events of the Arab Spring." However, with prices lower, and population growth alone adding nearly 2m tonnes a year to sugar consumption, "we remain confidence that the long-term outlook for demand remains positive", Czarnikow said. "We will see a rebound in growth rates at current lower prices." Price implications This acceleration would appear in fact to imply support to sugar values, given their low level compared with production costs, although Czarnikow stopped short of making a price forecast.

of the pending cocoa deficit ranging from the International Cocoa Organization’s 52,000 tonnes, through 173,000 tonnes (industry analysts Macquarie), to as high as

sors’ coverage of cocoa bean supplies has ‘fallen to uncomfortably low levels’, as non-commercial investors have tied up the supplies to be gained from futures markets.” Overall, according to Goldman Sachs, “cocoa has been one of the best-performing commodities of the summer.” However, while prices have risen 15% since March 2013, they were still 5.3% below the levels in September 2012, and below price levels from March 2009 and November 2011, which saw peaks in January 2010 of US$3,520/tonne.

Toby Cohen, Czarnikow director said: "With consumption growth proving robust and the world market moving back towards equilibrium the market needs to sustain production and cover total production costs as well as pay a return to shareholders. "This remains a challenge." Worst hit regions The extent of the 2009-11 slowdown in consumption growth had been evident in particular in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, the merchant added. In Asia, the annual growth fell from a rate of 4.7%, in the decade up to 2008, to 1.5%.

12 • THE AGRICULTURALIST • DECEMBER 2013

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By Douglas McIntosh new sorrel harvesting machine, which could significantly boost local production, was unveiled at the offices of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hope Gardens, in St. Andrew, on November 12. The machine, which was developed by St. Elizabeth farmers and entrepreneurs, Oral and Allison Turner, is designed to, among other things, increase the volume of sorrel harvested, while reducing the time and manpower needed to do so. Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Roger Clarke, who was among the persons witnessing the unveiling of the prototype, endorsed it as a welcomed innovation, capable of revolutionizing and enhancing the sorrel sub-sector. “I am pleased to see this. A machine like this (once) properly put in place and running efficiently…will enable us to get the volume of sorrel that we need,” he said. Noting that the sorrel industry’s potential is “enormous”, Clarke said maximum outputs can only be achieved if technology is incorporated into the harvesting process. “We have been working to see how (best) we can develop the industry,” the Minister noted, citing a plant that was recently commissioned into service in Westmoreland. He commended the Turners for their determination to improve on the machine’s initial design, which the Minister said was “impressive.”

Local Sorrel Harvesting Machine Unveiled
TECHNOLOGY
Clarke added. Meanwhile, Senior Director for RADA’s Technology, Training and Technical Services Division, Marina Young, said the agency has been working closely with the Turners to provide the necessary linkages that can best facilitate the machine’s advancement to the stage where it can be fully streamlined for commercial use. “It is very important for RADA that sorrel production consistently increases, because it is a tremendous crop. However, there are a lot of constraints in terms of the cost of production, especially labour, which is required to (harvest) sorrel. If we are to look at the production of sorrel in commercial quantities and to increase the volume, not only for local consumption, but for export, there is no way we can handle it (harvesting) by manual labour,” she noted. In this regard, Young said RADA is anticipating that the Turners will be successful in efforts to introduce their innovation into the industry. For his part, RADA’s Chief Executive Officer, Lenworth Fulton, described the machine’s development as “one other step in the right direction in agriculture.” “It is one step further up the value chain; one step in making our agriculture more efficient; and one step in getting more farmers involved and getting more for their (dollar), by using technology to drive the sector,” he said.

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The sorrel harvesting machine developed by farmer and entrepreneur, Allison Turner and husband, Oral Turner.

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FARMER’S ALMANAC
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“You could see the entrepreneurial spirit exuding from them. I told them that the Ministry and I would be there with (them) all along the way,” the Minister said. “The step that you have taken, you have to be congratulated. And I want to say to you that RADA is there to support you, and the Ministry of Agriculture stands ready to give whatever support that we can to make sure that this venture succeeds,”

A

By Jan Suszkiw RS scientists and their collaborators have developed new garden-and drypea breeding lines that are resistant to Aphanomyces root rot, a disease that can cause crop yield losses of 20 to 100 percent. The mold-like pathogen that causes the disease, Aphanomyces euteiches, infects the roots and underground stems of susceptible pea plants and other legumes, rotting them and causing stunted growth, lesions, wilted leaves and other symptoms. Fungicides aren't an option, so growers must either avoid planting in fields with a history of the disease or switch to growing non-host crops until pathogen numbers drop to acceptable levels. However, avoidance and crop rotation may not always be economically feasible. Furthermore, breeding peas for resistance to Aphanomyces has proven difficult because multiple genes are involved, according to Rebecca McGee, a plant geneticist with USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS), USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency. The resistance genes are also associated with undesirable traits, which cultivated varieties can inherit when crossed with wild germplasm sources, adds McGee, at the ARS Grain Legume Genetics Physiology Research Unit in Pullman, Wash.

Disease-Resistant Peas Developed For Release

Inventors and directors of the company Oral & Allison Turner started this project in 2010. Mr. Turner owns and operates a farm store supplying local farmers with a variety of farming products. Oral & Allison Turner One day a customer told Oral that he had to abandon a large crop of sorrel because of the high labor costs associated with removing the seed. Immediately Oral decided there must be a feasible solution to this problem and started to study the plant. For the next three months he brought sorrel buds home every day. Evenings were spent having long discussions and idea exchanges with Allison. After staying up late every night in the garden playing with different methods, Oral simply came in one evening with the calyces flesh in one hand and the seed in the next stating, "I've done it!' Allison fondly remembers having to pick up discarded sorrel from all over the house, and endured missing utensils, kitchen stools, brooms, and other household items as they disappeared into the invention. Oral firmly believes that to find a solution to a problem you must fully study and understand the subject. Only when you know everything about it can you begin to envision the answers you need to master it.

A pea seedling resistant to Aphanomyces root rot among those that are not. Photo, Rebecca McGee,
ARS.

As an alternative, McGee, ARS geneticist Clare Coyne and other colleagues sought to develop pea germplasm lines that naturally tolerate the pathogen, but do not suffer the same ill effects as susceptible plants—particularly not significant yield losses. Coyne is with the ARS Plant Germplasm Introduction and Testing Research Unit, also in Pullman.

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T

here is currently no cure for AIDS or HIV infection. Although antiretroviral treatment can suppress HIV – the virus that causes AIDS – and can delay illness for many years, it cannot clear the virus completely. However, there is hope and optimism around the possibility of a genuine cure for HIV being developed within the next few decades. The launch of a new strategy to develop a cure, involving scientists, policy makers, funders and people living with HIV, in July 2012, marked an increased focus on the development of a cure as a potential approach to curbing the HIV and AIDS epidemic.

ABOUT AIDS
No Cure

Curing AIDS is generally taken to mean clearing the body of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. The virus replicates (makes new copies of itself) by inserting its genetic code into human cells, particularly a type known as CD4 cells. Usually the infected cells produce numerous HIV particles and die soon afterwards. Antiretroviral drugs interfere with this replication process, which is why the drugs are so effective at reducing the amount of HIV in a person’s body to extremely low levels. During treatment, the concentration of HIV in the blood often falls so low that it cannot be detected by the standard test, known as a viral load test. Contact your doctor.

Why is it so difficult to cure HIV and AIDS?

Foods with Added Sodium Cured meats such as ham are high in sodium. This encompasses nearly all processed food. The culprit is not just salt but the sodium ion. Canned soups and baked beans, cured meats (like bacon, ham, hot dogs, sausages and lunch meats), chips and snack foods are high in sodium. Baked goods contain both salt and sodium leavening agents. Many processed foods have sodium preservatives. Excess sodium can raise blood pressure and result in water retention.

Refined Sugars Refined sugar products should be avoided. Sugar-containing foods used to be a rare treat kept for holidays and special occasions. Now they are on our plates every day. Refined sugars quickly raise one's blood sugar level, initiating a surge of insulin release. Blood sugar is quickly lowered, producing hypoglycemia and a need to eat more sugar.

Foods to Avoid

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-and they are everywhere. Margarine and hydrogenated shortenings, packaged baking mixes, soup mixes, frozen foods, fast foods, commercial baked goods, crackers, chips, breakfast foods and cereal bars, toppings, dips and salad dressings all contain trans fats.

Unwashed Fruits and Vegetables Wash fruits and vegetables to remove possible contaminants. Fresh fruits and vegetables are good diet additions, but they should be properly prepared. Washing gets rid of contaminants from field chemicals, fungal spores, bacterial contaminants, insect contaminants and waxes and products applied to prolong storage life or improve appearance.

NutriCare By
the nutritive value. They contribute to higher blood sugar levels because they are more easily broken down into sugars and do not contribute to fiber in the diet. Avoid white flour, white rice and refined grain pastas and mixes.

Gloria Bent, MS, RD, CDN Nutritionist Questions &Comments gloria.bent@gmail.com

Foods High in Omega-6 Fatty Acids Corn oil contains linoleic acid. According to Dr. Artemis Simopoulos in "The Omega Diet," increased consumption of omega-6 oils containing linoleic acid likely contributes to increased rates of cancer, obesity, depression, insulin resistance, allergies and autoimmune diseases. Oils to avoid include corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil, cottonseed oil, sesame oil, grapeseed oil, borage oil and primrose oil.

Drinks with Caffeine The caffeine in coffee can cause health problems. Cola drinks and some sodas, coffees, teas and hot chocolates contain caffeine. Overuse can give rise to anxiety, panic, irregular heart beats, increased stomach acid production, fatigue and headaches. Artificially Sweetened Foods Artificially sweetened drinks have potential health concerns. Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and saccharin have drawbacks or potential health concerns. Many people tolerate them without side effects, but people sensitive to aspartame can show increased anxiety, nervousness and an increased heart beat. Refined Flours and Grains White breads don't have the nutritive value of whole grain breads. Refined flours and grains lack the husk, which contains most of

Alcohol An excess of alcohol can cause serious health problems. When consumed in excess, alcohol can worsen anxiety, mood swings and female health problems such as menopausal symptoms as well as increase hypoglycemia. It can lead to liver malfunction or damage, destroy brain cells and increase susceptibility to yeast infections.

Foods with Trans Fat Most crackers and snack foods contain trans fats. Trans fats can lead to heart disease-

Fast Food Fast foods have been implicated in weight gain and insulin resistance. Fast foods contain trans fats, high sodium levels, refined sugars and refined grains. They often contain monosodium glutamate, which causes problems for some people.

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DECEMBER 2013 • THE AGRICULTURALIST • 15

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