Department of Agriculture Delivers on Its Promise
With a mere two weeks before schools close for the Summer break the Department of Agriculture (DoA) has once again fulfilled its promise to the Seventh Day Adventist Secondary School (SDASS) and its farm. Less than a month ago a request was made by teacher Yonette Patrick for assistance in cleaning the farm pond. Clearing and cleaning of the areas surrounding the pond took place at the beginning of June and material was used to build a ramp at the Country Pond. This ramp was crucial for the excavator to gain access further into the pond but that meant that the cleaning of the SDASS pond had a slight delay but nevertheless on Monday 13th the promise became a thing of the past. “I am so grateful and happy. Praise the Lord. I am so happy and can’t thank the Ministry enough” Ms. Patrick said. According to Alvin Christian (DoA Soil, Water & Heavy Equipment Consultant), the excavator was due for a routine maintenance servicing, however after carefully considering the time factor it was decided to oblige the SDASS.
In the past, the SDASS pond which lies between two gullies would fill up very quickly during the rainy seasons or after heavy downpours and over time lots of top soil was deposited into it reducing the size and holding capacity. “What needs to be done is (1) with the use of the excavator remove all the top soil until we get to clay (2) then slope the walls to increase the size and holding capacity (3) elongate the pond so instead of having the shape of a basin, the pond will have an oval shape and this would utilize the space available. Additionally, the oval shape would be done so that none of the cultivation area would be encroach upon”, explained Mr. Christian.
Adjacent to the pond was the compost heap. The compost generated in the heap mixed with the freshly dug top soil would be spread over the newly ploughed areas prior harrowing. This rich combination should increase the tilth and friability of the soil making it even more conducive for crop production. Luckily, the SDASS farm is a mixed one (combination of crop production and animal husbandry) and this enhances the quality of the compost by combining the chicken dung from the layers with other organic materials.
The DoA within the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Barbuda Affairs once again commend the SDASS for taking Agriscience seriously and for making their contribution towards Food Security a priority.