THESE FIELDS AND HILLS: Farmer battling his ‘pests’
THERE ARE THREE major challenges facing Green Leaf Farms in Coral Ridge, Christ Church. They are garden bed rotivation, green monkeys and diamondback moths.
Despite this, owner Brian Clarke and his farmhands are finding ways to overcome them.
“We don’t have our own heavy equipment so we have to wait for tractors to come and plough the beds and sometimes we can be delayed for a long time,” he told These Fields And Hills.
“Whether you call privately or call the ministry, you still have to wait and when they come late, I can’t plant. One of my fields was ploughed last year and I scheduled for a tractor to rotavate and furrow the beds so I could plant yams now we getting rain. If it was done two weeks ago, I would have already planted them and wouldn’t have to do that now, since it is best to plant yams at the start of May when the rain comes.”
Pests, especially diamondback moths, are also affecting Clarke’s output in addition to thrips and white flies, which usually attack leafy crops. The businessman explained that he sprayed at least twice each week depending on which crops were affected.
Clarke explained that the various pests made it difficult for local farmers to get into organic farming because home-made pest deterrents did not necessarily work. He noted too that many pests even became resistant to chemical sprays.
Clarke, who has been farming on ten acres of land for the past five years, lamented that monkeys mostly stole his produce early in the morning and their favourite target was his watermelons.
“It doesn’t make any sense putting scarecrows in the ground because monkeys are intelligent and they would end up playing with the scarecrows instead.
“Usually they take what they can and go. They eat up my watermelons. And if you start running them or interfering with them, they would bite all the melons and run and go along,” he said.
Green Leaf is a wholesale and retail supplier of kale, Chinese cabbage, scotch bonnet peppers, lettuce, cabbage, watermelons, mustard, plantain and other ground provisions. Clarke said he also had an interest in processing and sometimes made secondary products from his crops. (SB)