Chemical pesticides are widely used to combat the insect pests that raid fields and destroy vegetables. However, safe organic means are available. Before Steve Carter became a farmer in Barbados, he was an engineer. Through the internet, he researched how to use the biological control of pests as an alternative to expensive poisonous agrochemicals. This became a growing business and he named his firm @Organic Farming Solutions@.
Many farmers seem to believe that certain chemicals and fertilizers no longer work after certain time. Others honestly think that the make-up of chemicals changes. However, the reason for the ineffectiveness of certain chemicals is that insects become immune to them. Therefore alternatives need to be sought. Organic products have been provided by nature to help us protect our crops and research has shown that certain things like garlic or neem will not be attacked by insects.
Prompted by a neighbour who was looking for a product to keep birds away from his crops, Steve Carter did research through the internet. He came across a product called Agarlic barrier@, which was reported to have protected some crops from birds and other pests, based on the taste and smell that it gives to crops. Also regarding insect and other pests, tests had provided good results. Therefore Steve Carter imported some, and he had very good results with it.
The garlic is a systemic product that becomes part of the chemical make-up of the plants. It works by treating the plant from a very early age – usually the two to four leaves stage, which may be a week to two weeks old. When insects feed on the plants or try to feed, they will taste and smell the garlic and be repelled. The garlic is a very active insect repellent, even more so than insecticides. However, people will not be able to taste it, according to Carter.
Steve Carter has used other organic products also. For instance, he used a natural fish oil, called cockerish fish oil. This works as a sticker spreader and causes insecticides to adhere to the plants better. It also works as a fortifyer and an insecticide: being an oil, it smothers insects and thus kills them.
Later, Steve Carter came across a product called Dytemeseus Earth, which is made from a fossil. This mechanical product kills insects by scarring away their exo-skeleton and dehydrating them. He mentioned that it comes in quite a number of varieties: “There is one household insecticide, for flies and cockroaches and so on. Another formulation is for broad-spectrum insects: white flies, aphides, dynobites etc. There is also one for the floral and ornamental plants, since it works better on mites. Further, there is one to be used in cattle feed to kill the parasites which may be in a cow or sheep=s intestines. This also works as an anti-caking agent, giving the food a greater service area and enhancing digestion”.
Carter stated that all these products have given good results which can be passed on to others. Many farmers in the area have already tried the garlic barrier, all with good results. Carter: “One guy I saw told me that it didn’t work on his cauliflower. But in the next breath he said that it worked wonderfully on cabbage. So there=s still some testing to be done”. Most of the reports that Carter got are that the products have worked very well and that most people are very pleased with it.
Carter stated that organic growing is not something that is hard to sell. Most of the people will know of the days when their grandfather or great-grandfather was farming. Although agrochemicals didn’t exist at that time, they used to grow vegetables just as good as present day farmers would like to grow them. Therefore, when Carter speaks about organic farming, most people will feel that it makes sense and that they should give it a try.