The Extension Department of the Banana Board

Extension Services

The human resources of the Extension Unit in the Banana Board consist of an Extension Specialist and three other Extension Officers. The unit provides technical, organizational and logistic support to over 1000 registered commercial growers primarily in the six traditional Banana growing parishes of St Mary, St James, Portland, St Thomas, St Catherine and Clarendon. However, the unit also provides services to over 400 small producers with less than o.5 hectares of banana and plantain nationwide. The objective of the unit is to empower farmers with the requisite knowledge and skills to make critical decisions in the management of their farms. Therefore, the unit operates a participatory extension programme where farmers learn new tasks by experiential and discovery learning. All Extension workers are therefore trained Facilitators who apply the principles and best practice of facilitation in helping farmers to address their needs.

The Extensions methods employed include:

· Farm visitations,

· Group trainings,

· Field days,

· The use demonstration plots and model farms,

· On farm training

The day to day activities of the extension unit include; the monitoring of agronomic practices on farms, GPS mapping of farms, recording and analysing production, productivity and disease monitoring data, collection of leaf and soil samples for nutrient determination and the monitoring of farms with Moko disease. Ongoing training farmers are carried out in collaboration with the Research Department according to zoned locations and pre-determined needs assessment.

The Group methodology is encouraged and facilitated by the extension team. The group extension approach is very successful and fully integrated in the banana industry.

 

Banana Production, Productivity and Spatial Data Management

The Extension Department has implemented a database system consisting of production data from farms. Extension Officers collect production data on a monthly basis which is collated and submitted to the Data Bank of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MOAF). The accuracy of this data is further enhanced as the Officers also collect spatial data using Global Positioning System (GPS) / Geographic Information System (GIS) technology. The data is used to update the database using ARC GIS to make necessary amendments.

The objective of maintaining the database is to ensure the following:

  1. To provide accurate data on the commercial banana and plantain farms in Jamaica
  2. To generate accurate sizes of commercial banana and plantain farms and be able to link growers to their holdings in the Jamaican landscape.
  3. To provide zonal information on major banana growing areas in Jamaica
  4. To strengthen the ability of The Banana Board, MOAF and the Rural Agricultural Authority (RADA) to provide accurate production and productivity estimates of banana and plantain sub-sectors.
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Contact Information
Banana Board
10 South Ave
Kingston Gardens
Kingston 4, Jamaica
Tel: (876) 922-5490
(876) 922-4327
Email: bananaboard@cwjamaica.com

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