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GIS – The Black Sigatoka Management Unit has adopted a new scientific approach as part of its efforts to combat the leaf spot disease.
Martin Satney, Manager/Coordinator of the Black Sigatoka Management Unit, said there have been successes due to the undertakings of banana agriculturalists and the hard working members of the unit, but in order to stay on top of the situation, a new approach must be implemented.
“According to the previous system, every four to six weeks all banana farmers in Saint Lucia would be called to collect mineral oil and fungicides. That is not a scientific approach to the issue because everybody in Saint Lucia does not necessarily have to spray at the same time, because the disease evolves. [To treat the disease], there are non-chemical practices and also chemical practices which involve spraying,” Mr. Satney said.
The new method will help restrict the disease from building resilience towards the chemicals used.
“We want the farmers to adopt an approach that is aligned with the weekly updates the unit provides. Every week we monitor the development of the disease at the farm level, all around the island, and we come up with an advisory as to which areas are due for spraying.
What we are trying to do is to get the farmers and industry layers to adopt that methodology. So if there are three or four areas, let’s say Marc and Deglos and Crown Lands are the areas due for spraying, we want the farmers in the Marc, Deglos and Crown Lands areas to come in and get the oil and the fungicides. We do not want everybody to come in at the same time. The Ministry has advised that we start with the new method.”
Satney urges all farmers, trading, and producer organizations to listen out for notices that will be issued stating the areas that are due for treatment.