By Kimani Wiseman

George:Shirley, It has been three years since we graduated from college and we are unemployed. I have an idea. I have a piece of land at home that my grandmother passed on to me. Maybe we should do some farming? We can plant some vegetables and root crops and try to make some money, instead of being at home wasting time.

Shirley:Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Boy, aren’t you a head. Do I look like Isaac Hunt? You really expect me to do farming? I went to secondary school and I graduated with eight O’levels. After graduating from secondary school, I went to college and I got two A’levels and you expect me to do farming? 

George:I understand what you are saying, but we could try and make some money from farming.

Shirley: Hot gal ah hot gal. I am not putting my long nails in no damn soil. I will wait until I get my office job. There is no money in agriculture. Let me ask you a question, what is the value of soil?

***

Soil is formed from rock. When rocks are weathered or broken down by wind, freezing and thawing, or by water flowing over them, they are broken down into smaller particles, called rock waste. These particles are gradually colonised by a few flowering plants, and then lichens and mosses. As the plants die and decay, their remains add organic materials to the mineral particles of the rock waste. Other plants and animals can then begin to colonise the soil. This takes a very long time. It probably takes thousands of years to form a good, deep soil suitable for agriculture. Soil is a very important environmental factor, because plants rely on it for many of their requirements. 

Some of these requirements are:

Anchorage.Soil provides an anchorage for plant roots. A thin or very loosely structured soil will not support many plants, because their roots will not be able to get a good grip.

Nutrient minerals.Soil provides nutrients for plants, for example, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

Water:Plants obtain water from the soil.

Air:Plant roots and other soil organisms need air, to provide them with oxygen for respiration. A good soil has plenty of air spaces. The type of soil in a particular area has a large effect on the plants growing in it. This in turn will affect the animals which live there.

Three years later:

George:Morning! Shirley you home?

Shirley: Who is it knocking?

George:Is me, George. Gal how you look like you have seen Freddy Krueger is what happen to you?

Shirley:I have been trying to get a job and I am unable to find one. It is making me feel down and out. 

George:I remember the last conversation we had couple years ago when I encouraged you to join me in agriculture and you told me a lot of nonsense about ‘hot gal ah hot gal’.

You can make money in agriculture. That blue Honda Civic parked down the road is mine and I was able to buy that car from doing agriculture. I really think you should come and join me with the agriculture business. I am making agriculture attractive and sexy for all of us young people. 

I do budget, record keeping, composting, and I have also built an app that I use to market my agriculture goods. I also intend to use drones on my farm in the future to check the health of my crops. Whatever computer and accounts skills you have, you would get the opportunity to utilise them to the maximum effect and make some money instead of wasting time at home. A lot of farmers are getting down in age. Who is going to feed the nation when all these farmers have gone to the great beyond if more young people don’t get involve in agriculture? Hog say bathe in the first water you get until you get your dream job.

Shirley:I really should have listened to you three years ago. I would definitely be joining you on the farm.

6 replies on “The value of soil and agriculture”

  1. The idea that an educated person cannot take up farming is a fallacy. It’s an outdated concept that some is embedded in Caribbean psyche. I really do not know how it transcends in our way of thinking, however, farming is seen as the profession of the uneducated.

    Every educated VincentIan look at education as a means of getting an office job. The idea was expressed by Papa Bird that growing sugar was a backward step in the evolution of Caribbean nations . There is really a need for re-education in our way of thinking with respect to agriculture. Only then we can be able to feed ourselves and have less reliance on imported food we can see we are an independent nation.

  2. The author has provided a good scenario for what actually exists in our society. It also has to be stated that there are tremendous challenges to farming. You have to plan very well and be vigilant. If you do not choose the right crop, it could cost you money to farm. You have to watch for pests, to include the two-legged kind. Droughts, heavy rains, wind can ruin your crops. then there is the market price. For Ginger you can get wealthy or go broke depending on what the market price may be.
    I am glad the author did not include any of the fake information that infiltrators have infused into the Climate Change debate. Most of that debate is fake science designed to take the people’s money and get it to the banks and those that own the fossil fuel industry under the guise of cutting CO2 emissions.

    CO2, (when not chemically bonded with toxic pollutants) is possibly the greatest lfe-giving molecule on earth. The bankers, politicians, owners and investors of the oil and coal industry have indoctrinated good people into believing that CO2 is a bad thing and we have to fight to reduce it, especially by pumping toxic chemicals into the atmosphere as Bill Gates is in charge of doing starting this year. The same Bill Gates that is a main shareholder in Monsanto, (sold to Bayer) that is one of the biggest chemical and biological destroyers of the environment. They want the working people to pay more of our earnings to accomplish these things while all of them get richer under this ever-increasing socialist economic restructuring.

    I am writing this information as much for the environmentally conscientious author as for the average Vincentian. Others in SVG have stated the same. The University Education I received 40 years ago has turned even more into globalist indoctrination prodding all of us to work hard and get less as more of the fruits of our labor are taken from us in order to “save the planet”. They get richer and we get poorer and the environment gets worse. More Nuclear Waste dumped into the oceans, OUR SOILS, into the air, more plastics fracking, war, sanctions, pollution, etc… Instead, they want to reduce the CO2 levels as the biggest issue of the day!

  3. Excellent, the Island needs more entrepreneurs in the Agricultural industry, local foods to replace imported

  4. Gersham Alexander says:

    Gentlemen you have all spoken and I fully endorsed your sentiments. We need to include agriculture in the Primary, Secondary and Technical Collage curriculum. How could we, as an agricultural country, not teach the principles of farming to our youths. Is it not important enough to be taught in the schools? Our policy makers need to wake up from their slumber. There is a need, also, for more skills in the country. This is the 21st century and any educational revolution should, also, take the “blue collar” training needs on board
    .

  5. It is indeed really very sad that this unenlightened government has paid so little attention to agriculture over the passing years. Moreover, what little flat lands that once existed, that would otherwise have been seen suitable for mechanised farming, have all been allowed to be put to housing, that is, as far as one could see.

    A most backward form of thinking on the part of a government who has during these years has set its sights on begging the world over for Aid.

    Indeed, the hardworking traditional farmers have also been just left to get on with things and is even looked down upon by all, as a stupid dunce, even by government, because these traditional farmers are not sitting behind a desk, nor rushing to the banks with stacks of cash, save for the boys in the bush, with the dreaded weed, nor driving the latest model in imported cars.

    In short there is little incentive to farming in the country as a whole. Foolish governmental neglect of this sector, severe predatory larceny, very poor return on capital and low status, all works together to make agriculture here, very undesirable for sure.

    Perhaps a new government with a different attitude towards that sector, could correct the imbalance in imported food products here by building an Agricultural Collage to teach agricultural science, that is, coupled with the traditional farming methods and at the same time incentivise the Agricultural sector with a very serious attention to the incidences of severe predatory larceny!

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