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Learning to Grow

Cayman Brac residents learnt more about vegetable production and grow box gardening.

Residents of the Sister Islands are learning about farming techniques. Three in a series of five agriculture workshops have already been held on the Bluff in Cayman Brac.

The first, held on Saturday, 30 October, focused on vegetable production and grow box gardening, and the second, on 6 November, looked at common vegetable diseases and disorders. The third workshop held last Saturday focused on common vegetable pests and their control

Minister of District Administration, Works, Lands and Agriculture the Hon. Juliana O'Connor-Connolly, JP said that the workshops are aimed at fostering awareness and encouraging persons to get involved in "growing what they eat and eating what they grow".

The Minister said that it is critical that the country moves to reduce its food import bills. "Right now over 90 per cent of the foods we eat are imported and we want to reduce that figure," the Minister said.

"Our goal is that persons will become actively engaged in farming, and that they will grow their own produce to supplement their families' and communities' food supply. If each person grows a little in his or her backyard, it would propel us towards our objective of national food security," she said.

Director of the Department of Agriculture Adrian Estwick added: "The knowledge gained by attendees of the workshops will help them to improve their production skills and lessen the frustration that many home gardeners experience when they can't get their vegetables to grow as they expect. Our goal is to have more people be able to proudly say 'I have a green thumb'.

"I hope that the enthusiasm that we are seeing at the workshops, combined with the new skills taught, will translate into more vegetable exhibits at next year's Sister Islands Agricultural Show; after all, Mercherito (Mercherito Chantilope Cayman Brac's leading crop farmer) needs some competition" Mr. Estwick quipped.

Department of Agriculture's Assistant Director, Brian Crichlow said there are two additional workshops to be held in the upcoming weeks.

The next in the series, which focuses on the basics of pesticide use and user safety, will take place this Saturday 20th November. There will however, be a change in the venue with this presentation taking place at the Aston Rutty Centre. The final workshop will address basic techniques in fruit tree production.

For further information contact: Prudence Barnes