Chatham farmers want help as locusts destroy crops

Farmers from Chatham are crying out for help as swarms of locusts continue to feed off vast acreages of crops in the southwestern peninsula.

While the Ministry of Agriculture awaits funds to fix a wheel tractor used to spray the insects, farmers say they are losing thousands of dollars in crops.

Farmer Rishi Ramroop of Southern Main Road, Chatham said the swarm was so thick that within the space of a few days they gnawed away several acres of cassava, bodi, plantain and carailli."

Better cocoa - Ministry wants improved standard of beans

Minister of Trade and Industry, Paula Gopee-Scoon, has presented two new cocoa standards to The University of the West Indies (UWI) which were developed by the Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards (TTBS), intended to improve the quality of locally produced cocoa beans.

The handover took place at The UWI during the Cocoa Research Centre’s (CRC) Annual Research and Development Symposium.

According to Gopee-Scoon, the Ministry of Trade and Industry is committed to supporting downstream agro-processing as a form of economic diversification.

Locusts move out of forest, continuing their destruction

The locusts which hatched in the forests of Mora last November have grown into fully-fledged locusts and are now attacking agricultural estates in the southwestern peninsula.

Teams are now struggling to deal with the pests and residents say swarms are entering their yards and houses.

When Guardian Media visited the scene, thousands of locusts were seen flying in the air.

The sounds of their wings could be heard if you listened carefully.

Irrigation project to make more water available to farmers

The Agricultural Society has started work on an irrigation project that helps make more water available to farmers, in the face of a harsh dry season that threatens to affect food prices.

The Orange Grove Agricultural Project is a joint venture between the society and the Ministry of Works.

President of the Agricultural Society, Dhanoo Sookoo, has said while the Ministry of Works provided the infrastructure, much of the project which began in January has been financed by farmers.

Fishermen grounded by sea of seaweed

Fish­er­men in the south­west­ern penin­su­la say mas­sive quan­ti­ties of sar­gas­sum sea­weed is ham­per­ing their abil­i­ty to fish.

The sea­weed is so bad that some fish­er­men have an­chored their boats and have not ven­tured out to the ocean in over three weeks.

When Guardian Me­dia vis­it­ed the area on Wednes­day, the foul-smelling weeds lined the Ica­cos beach where dozens of boats were an­chored.

Pres­i­dent of the Ica­cos Unit­ed Fish­er­men As­so­ci­a­tion Gary Ed­wards said as many as 800 fish­er­men were af­fect­ed.

Locusts ravage South farmlands

Locusts have descended on farms in the southwest peninsula, ravaging crops and vegetation.

The worst hit areas include Bowen Trace, Chatham and Austin South Trace.

Teams from the Ministry of Agriculture have been taking photographs and reports of the damage. However, sources say the lone crop dusting tractor is down so spraying of the insects is not possible.

Farmers chop down 300 acres of forest reserve

Pineap­ple farm­ers who have chopped down more than 300 acres of for­est re­serve in Table­land are ex­pect­ed to be charged by the po­lice fol­low­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions, Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Clarence Ramb­harat con­firmed yes­ter­day.

Ramb­harat him­self has al­so launched a probe in­to “the com­plete fail­ure of the Forestry Di­vi­sion to com­bat squat­ting in the for­est re­serves.”

In an in­ter­view with the T&T Guardian, Ramb­harat said he was ap­palled at the for­est de­struc­tion.

Farmers welcome benefits of Sahara dust

Thick Saharan dust which blanketed T&T last weekend has caused hardship for scores of people suffering from asthma and sinus but for agriculturalists, the dust has been welcomed as free natural fertilizer.

Rains hamper spraying of locusts

Heavy rains put a damper on spray­ing op­er­a­tions at agri­cul­tur­al es­tates near Bun­see Trace, Pe­nal on Tues­day as farm­ers con­tin­ue to grap­ple with crop loss­es from an in­fes­ta­tion of lo­custs.

The lo­custs, which are about a cen­time­tre in length, have been gob­bling fields of cas­sa­va, peas, ochroes and bo­di near the forests of Morne Di­a­blo.

Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Clarence Ramb­harat said spray­ing start­ed since Sun­day.

How­ev­er, res­i­dents of Pe­nal Rock said not all the ar­eas are be­ing cov­ered.