Recent increase in rainfall affecting crops
The recent increase in rainfall is harming the local agricultural sector. This change in climate is causing low yield and poor product quality from water damage.
Recently, The Barbados Advocate spoke to Barbadian scientist, Dr. Harold Gibbs about how the weather conditions are affecting the local crops.
Dr. Gibbs explained that the increase in rainfall creates many challenges. He noted that in Barbados, root crops (sweet potatoes, eddoes, yam) are grown between sugar cane.
For sugar harvesters using machinery, it can be difficult to get the equipment in the field due to the saturation.
For produce growers, Dr. Gibbs said that heavy rains can dislodge the flowers on the plants and this can affect the crop yield.
He emphasised that waterlogged plants will not grow particularly crops like cucumbers and watermelons.
Another issue highlighted by Dr. Gibbs is bacteria and pests which are likely to reproduce rapidly in moist or wet climates. He added that if farmers do not have a lot of acreage to rotate crops, there is the risk of growing a crop in a ground with untreated soil.
Dr. Gibbs suggested farmers might need to explore growing crops which can thrive in wet conditions and in greenhouses.
The scientist also noted that this situation does not only affect the farmers but the consumers, who will see a surge in prices for particular fruits and vegetables affected by the environmental conditions.
On Sunday, Farmer Andrew Walcott spoke to The Barbados Advocate about the current
situation. While he has not increased his cost on produce, he admitted that some crops (okras) have been affected by waterlogging in the fields. Walcott indicated these challenges are being experienced in the Salters, St. George area.