Discussion at First Town Hall Meeting at Glanvilles Secondary School encouraging

6th November 2019

Discussion at First Town Hall Meeting at Glanvilles Secondary School encouraging

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Although the attendance was sparse, the presentations and discussions generated at the first Town Hall Meeting on the Giant African Snail (GAS) which was held at the Glanvilles Secondary School last night (Tues), was encouraging.

The Plant Protection Unit within the Ministry of Agriculture in conjunction with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) hosted the meeting which attracted persons who were eager to know what more they can do to manage the evasive species within their various communities.

Chief Plant Protection Officer, Dr. Janil Gore- Francis, opened the meeting with a detailed presentation which covered the life cycle of Giant African Snail, guidelines to safe management of the GAS and the type of environment/condition conducive for the snails among others.

She emphasized that community involvement is paramount if success is to be achieved in the management of the GAS.

She said that the town hall meetings are designed to boost the interest of persons in communities which are infested with the snails and even those who are not.

Currently, there are twenty-nine (29) known communities, which are infested with the Giant African Snail, with the latest being in Comfort Hall.

Although the GAS is not known to be a direct threat in Glanvilles at the moment, Dr. Gore-Francis noted that it is important for persons in the area to know what the snail can do and how it spreads, so they can prevent the indirect movement of these snails from one community to the next.

Dr. Gore-Francis stated that despite the minimal turnout, the discussion which they had with those who came was very beneficial.

She was also very delighted to know that there are persons in the Vernon’s Community who are already working together as a team to safely eliminate these pests from the area.

IICA’S National Specialist, Mr. Craig Thomas said that he hopes the word spreads about the upcoming meetings that will be held during the course of this month and that more people will come out as the session on Tuesday night was very informative and useful.

He also pledged IICA’s commitment to collaborate in this Rapid Response effort to eradicate the Giant African Snail.

“We as an institution will continue to offer our technical support to the Ministry of Agriculture,” stated Mr. Thomas.

In attendance at the town hall meeting was Louise Edwards, a resident of the Vernon’s community, who appealed to the general public to attend the meetings.

“I found it very informative and I encourage everyone to come out,” stated Louise.

Edwards stated that every morning and evening, she and her neighbors try to keep the snails under control around the area, and they have a strategy in place which works for them.

For those who are concerned about the ‘smelly’ state of the snails after they are collected and stored , Edwards stated that when she collects the snails, she puts them in salt water to eliminate the smell until Plant Protection collects them.

Other persons in attendance posed a number of questions regarding the use of snail bait and its effectiveness and the use of the snail as a delicacy.

The use of salt on the snail was also discussed but Dr. Gore-Francis is reminding the public that the best approach is to collect the snails, put them in a container then pour the salt on them instead of pouring the salt on the ground which can affect the soil and grass.

Dr. Gore-Francis is reminding Heavy Duty Equipment operators, landscapers and persons who transport gut sand and top soil along with road side grass cutters, to attend these meetings

The next town hall meeting will be on Thursday 7th November 2019, at the Newfield Primary School starting at 6pm, while on Tuesday 12th November, the team will go to the Liberta Primary School for the same time.