The DA speaks of agricultural techniques being used by the Chinese to improve crop production

15th February 2019

The DA speaks of agricultural techniques being used by the Chinese to improve crop production

Director of Agriculture, Mr. Jedidiah Maxime said that the various forms of technology that the Chinese Agricultural experts are using on the experimental field at Green Castle Agricultural Station will move crop production to remarkable level in Antigua and Barbuda.

During a visit to the experimental farm yesterday, Maxime spoke of Trellising which can be used to improve the yields of basically any crop that runs to include tomato, cucumber and beans. On the experimental farm, this form of technology was used to grow Long Beans.

The Agriculture Director further explained, “Trellising is a system that is used to train the vines to run so that they don’t run on the ground, so you get healthier vegetables and higher yields in a smaller area.”

He continued, “The yields are as comparable from what we are seeing so far, so we are very pleased and I think that a lot can be transferred from what the Chinese are demonstrating.”

Mr. Maxime also spoke of high density planting as another way of increasing the yields.

He said that the Chinese are also utilizing local organic fertilizers, which according to him, is a step in the right direction, in light of people becoming more health conscious about the use of chemicals.

In the meantime, Mr. Maxime was asked to comment on the mixed feedback that has been coming from some quarters regarding the Agricultural Technology Cooperation Project between Antigua and Barbuda which began in May last year.

He said that some farmers had concerns about the project, but as the news went out, the  Ministry of Agriculture, including the Minister and other technicians, reached out to the farmers and many of them now have a better understanding of what the project is all about and the long term benefits.

“Information is a powerful and as long as people have the right information, they will respond accordingly. As long as people are willing to sit and talk and reason, you’ll have good things happening and I think that is one of the positives that came out of what was perceived as being a misunderstanding.”

Further, Mr. Maxime said that the ministry was able to establish a stakeholder group chaired by the Permanent Secretary. The ministry meets once a month with all the major farmers associations, and other stakeholders to discuss agriculture from both perspectives to create a synergy on how to drive the sector forward.

The Green Castle Agricultural station is supplied with water from the government’s main distribution system and occupies about 35 acres of land.