How to Plant for Disasters
Here are some suggestions for planting:
- On slopes, establish crop rows and artificial or vegetative barriers across contours including appropriate, deep-rooting trees.
How To Protect Plant Nurseries
Here are a few recommendations for protecting your plant nurseries;
- If possible, remove shade cloth (saron) and store in a safe place. If not possible, secure it firmly to the upright posts which support it.
- If the nursery is in a low-lying area, remove and store the essential parts of the irrigation system, in particular the pump, in a waterproof area.
- Open drains to allow the easy passage of water.
- Cut diversion trenches around beds to prevent flooding.
- If possible, remove mixed potting soil, topsoil, and manure to an indoor location to reduce the possibility of them being washed away.
How to Prepare at the Release of a Disaster Warning
Farmers should attempt to finish the prescribed tasks listed below before the hurricane or extreme weather begins.
Farmers place themselves at the risk of injury or death by working during a storm or flood.
The likelihood of being electrocuted, hit by lightning or washed away by flood currents are increased during the time of excessive weather conditions or hurricanes.
- Remove cladding, lay plants flat and cover with plastic held down by twine tied across house posts.
- Reap mature fruits and store in a suitable area for use after the extreme weather has ended.
- Clear clogged drains and cut diversion trenches to lead water safely away from the farm.
- Protect roadways and foot paths by constructing cross drains to take water safely off the roads and into paved or grassed waterway.
- Construct dams using tires, logs or stones across gullies to prevent or minimize gully erosion.
- Trim coffee trees in windswept areas, partially to 34 inches or totally to 12-15 inches from the ground.
How to Implement Recovery Measures
The following steps may enhance the fast return to farming activities after a hurricane or flood;
Inspect recently planted fields for the possible need for replanting
Begin cleanup activities as soon as possible
As soon as practicable, address weed control – farms tend to experience an increase in weed growth following a hurricane.
Prop up trees with 14 days of storm cover; cover roots with top soil and mulch.
Assess property damage to buildings, crops and equipment.
Inspect chemical stores; clean up any chemical spillage to avoid poisoning and restrict contamination of water sources.
Check your surroundings for danger from fallen electrical wires or trees, pesticide spills and dead animals.
Recently planted nurseries may be given a supplementary fertilizer dressing to replace nutrients washed away during the storm
Sugar cane farmers should not re-fertilize fields after hurricanes – this tends to result in poor quality juice and a low cane price.
Establish protected seedling production centres for early replanting after excessive weather has caused crop damage.
Call your RADA parish office for advice as to further restoration methodologies if you see where your fields are in need of more technical reparatory measures.
The information for this edition of the RADA Diaries was prepared by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Library, located at 193 Old Hope Road. The library is open to members of the public during business hours.