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A questionnaire containing twenty two questions was constructed with the aid of secondary
resources such as the internet and textbooks. It was used to collect some general information and
those pertaining to the research. The research was carried out by choosing the farmers randomly
and issuing them the questionnaires. To enhance the research, the researcher pursued a strong
conversation with most of the farmers which was in some instances successful and thus helpful.
Also observations of plants and were made and interesting photographs were taken. The
questionnaire which is the primary source of data collection may be found in the appendix of this
booklet. The data collected was communicated with information from secondary sources such as
the internet websites and textbooks.
The data collection commenced on Saturday, November 16, 2013 between the hours of 9:00 am
and 3:00 pm when farmers are expected to be in their fields. Since the information collected was
not enough the research was continued and completed on Saturday, December 20, 2013 between
the hours of 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm.
The primary method of collection of data was done in Flagaman, St. Elizabeth, Jamaica. The
road distance is approximately 40 km south west of Mandeville Manchester, 23 km south
west of Nain, St. Elizabeth, 14 km west south west of Junction and 25 km South East of Back

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Data Presentation and Analysis

According to the Singh, R.H (2005), traditional farming is an integral part of the Jamaicas
economy. The agricultural activity there is characterized by two very distinct types: a small
number of large scale producers of export crops and cattle and a large number of very small
farms producing mainly for the domestic market and home consumptions.
The community of Flagaman is located in the parish of St. Elizabeth, also known as the
breadbasket of Jamaica. The main crops cultivated in St. Elizabeth are cassava, coffee, onions,
pimentos, sugar cane, tomatoes and water melons.
Based on the research done, it is evident that the type of farming practised in Flagaman St.
Elizabeth is peasant. According to Niles, John (2005), peasant farming describes small-scale
farming for subsistence as well as for cash sale in the market. Majority of the crops cultivated
there are cantaloupe, honey dew, tomatoes and melon which is done in a small amount.
Characteristics of farming in Flagaman
Gender of respondents
The research shows that majority of farmers in Flagaman are males (94%) and the remaining
females (6%) as depicted in Figure 4 below. These statistics reflect the tradition where male
farmers are normally the ones who do the cultivation of crops.

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Gender of Respondents



Percentage of respondents


Gender of respondents



Figure 4 showing the gender of respondents

Age Group of Respondents

The graph below shows by percentage farmers who are of different age group. In accordance,
minority of the farmers are between 18 and 25 years six percent (6%) and the majority 40 years
& over fifty nine (59%). Farmers think that this is a negative threat to future farming. One of
the problems is that younger people who have the potential to farm often shy away because of
the required hard work and dedication.

Age Group of Respondents

18 - 25 years


33 - 39 years
40 years & Over


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26 - 32 years

Figure 5 showing the age group of respondents interviewed

Purpose of farming in Flagaman

Farmers in Flagaman are mainly involved in peasant farming cultivation of land on a small
scale. It was observed from figure 6 below that the major purpose of farming is as a business
one hundred (100%). All farmers farm with the intention to bring home a small amount of
produce enough to feed family members. This saves the money they would use to buy from the
market. Twenty nine percent (29%) of farmers do farming since the land is inherited from older
generations who usually practise it. In return they consider it as an inheritance to their younger
ones in the long run if they are interested, thus triggering the tradition to be sustained. It is also
one of the communities livelihood according to some farmers sixty five percent (65%).

Purpose of farming



Percentage of repondents Purpose of farming

Purpose of farming

Figure 6 showing the purpose/s of farming in Flagman, St. Elizabeth

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Conditions for farming

Soil Fertility
Farming in Flagaman is ideal mainly because of its wonderful soil type loam. Loam soil
contains a mixture of the characteristics of the three principal soil groups and a higher
concentration of organic matter. Because of its well-balanced properties, loamy soil is highly
regarded for agricultural purposes, is easy to work and conducive to fruitful growing. Loam soil
supports farming mainly by retaining a moderate level of moisture thus giving cultivated plants
sufficient water. Also as a result the tendency of the soil to be waterlogged is reduced.
According to the farmers the climate does not have any real negative impact on crops instead it is
ideal for the growth of some crops. The weather changes sometimes cause small problems which
mainly include too much moisture as a result from continuous rainfalls. The unpredictable
weather conditions may also destroy large quantities of produce.
Problems faced by small farmers
Natural disasters
Natural Disasters are major threats to farmers. Natural disasters such as hurricane and drought
affect every farmer causing rapid destruction and resulting in farmers losing all/most of their
investments. Fifty nine percent (59%) of the farmers from the research are affected by flash
floods. The remaining may have escaped this since effects of floods depend uniformly on the
relief of the land. In order words, farmers who farm on hilly areas are more likely to escape
floods than those farming on flat land.
Since the destruction of crops from hurricanes and droughts is difficult to avoid farmers think
that the government do something in order to assure them future security and compensation for
past losses. According to the graph below all the farmers would be comfortable if the
government could pay special attention to reduce the effects of natural disasters or grant them
insurances. A total of seventy one per cent (71%) of farmers think government should provide
conditions for proper storage.
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Solution to effects of natural disasters


Percentage of respondennts





Grant farmers insurance

Suggested Solutions

Figure 7 showing what farmers think the government should do to assist them manage the effects natural disasters.

Land size/ Labour

Majority of the farmers in flagman farms on a land with size of between 1 4 hectares. One
reason for this is because farmers do not have enough money to invest in land of greater sizes.
Although some farmers are willing and able to hire help, these small farms have to compete with
larger estates that are able to offer better working conditions. The required technology which
could be used to improve yields or purchase the fertilizers they need is costly which a
disincentive for farmers who would consider investing in greater land sizes.
Pest and diseases
The effects of pest and diseases are a major problem in the agricultural industry mainly in terms
of the cultivation of crops. These problems are similar to that which farmers in Flagaman, St.
Elizabeth faced. According to the graph below, all the farmers interviewed are equally affected
by pest and disease.

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Effects of Pest and diseases


Percentage of Respondents


Effects of Pest & diseases

Deterioration of Crops

Figure 8 showing the effect that pest and diseases has farming in flagman.

Farmers in Flagman on a whole encounter similar problems with pest and diseases. They suffer
greatly from the effects of pest such as the Beet armyworm- Spodoptera exigua (Huebner),
aphids or plant lice.
According to Stansly P.A. (2011), the Beet Armyworm was originated as far as in the Southeast
Asia. It is a pest that infects a large number of crops. The young larvae eat leaves, stems and
flowers. As they mature, the larvae become solitary and eat away large irregular holes into the
foliage. This pest does damages mainly to scallion, onion, pepper, beet root, watermelon and
cantaloupe. This type of pest is hard to control because it develops quickly under local
conditions, giving many generations per year. The female lays numerous eggs in its lifetime. The
moths are strong fliers and can therefore infest very large areas. Insecticides are usually not very
effective as the worms are usually protected inside the leaves and are also tolerant to many of
these materials. Cultural practise are used to reduce infestation in which crop rotation is done
along with field sanitation. Also mechanical control is done where farmers hand pick and destroy
eggs and worms. The beet armyworm is regarded as the most dangerous defoliator of crops
farmers have ever seen recently in Flagaman.
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Mature larvae of the beet


Photograph 1 showing mature larvae of the beet army worm

Effects of beet
Photograph 2 showing the effects of the beet armyworm
larvae on
Aphids also known as plant lice are another major problem. According to Stansly P.A. (2011),
these are common pests that are usually present to some degree in every crop and can be
controlled. Aphids are among the most destructive insect pests on cultivated plants in temperate
regions. They feed by thrusting their sharp hallow beaks in among the plant cells and sucking out
juices from the phloem. The saliva that is injected during feeding causes the foliage to become
twisted, curled or cupped. Aphids generally can be recognized by their pear-like shape, a pair of
tube-like processes at the posterior end of their body, and fairly long antennae. They also vary in
colour from green, yellow, red, purple, brown, or black.

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Accumulation of
aphids or plant lice on

Photograph 3 showing the accumulation of aphids or plant lice on plant.

Powdery mildew is the major disease that most of the farmers complain about. According to
Organic Gardening.Com (2014), it is a fungal disease that affects a wide range of plants. It is one
of the most wide spread disease and is easily recognized. Farmers complain that they have to pay
keen attention on almost every single plant to make sure this disease is not evident. It forms a
white to greyish powdery growth, usually on the upper surfaces of leaves. Small black dots
appear and produce spores that are blown by wind to infect new plants. Leaves will become
brown and shrivel when mildew is extensive. Farmers say that this disease will spread from one
single plant to several different plants in one day. As a result from powdery mildew fruits ripen
prematurely and have poor texture and flavour. Bicarbonate sprays are used by farmers to
prevent the spread of infection.

Photograph 4 showing effects of the powdery mildew disease.Effects of powdery mildew

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Fungicide spray used by

farmers to prevent
infection of powdery
Photograph 5 shows a fungicide used by the farmers to prevent spreading of infection.

Praedial Larceny
According to a recent article, published by the Gleaner (January 12, 2012) entitled Fight
praedial larceny, praedial larceny is unfortunately treated with very scant regard and as a result,
there is limited enforcement. When the two-foot puss robs a farmer or his crop, his livestock, or
causes illicit fires to cane fields, it is not only hurting the farmer but is also a major loss in terms
of energy and financial investment . Praedial larceny poses a serious threat to the livelihoods of
farmers and serves as a disincentive for investment in agricultural activities."
Praedial larceny is believed to cost the agriculture sector between $5 billion and $6 billion,
annually. All places that practises farming in Jamaica is more than likely to suffer from praedial
According to the graph below seventy six percent (76%) of the farmers interviewed have never
suffered from praedial larency. However, twenty four (24%) suffers thus posing a threat to the
livelihood of the farmers.

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Effects of Praedial larency

Percentage of Respondents






Series 1

Figure 9 shows how farmers are affected by Praedial Larceny

Solutions to Praedial Larceny

All of the farmers interviewed consider the idea to implement proper fencing as good as depicted
in Figure 10 below. Proper fencing would restrict the easy access to each cultivated piece of
hence reducing praedial larceny. Unfortunately the idea is held back because farmers do not have
the money to pursue this project. Eighty eight percent (88%) of the farmers says that individuals
should suffer drastic sanctions. This would threaten the praedial larceners causing them to keep
away from farm. Thirty five percent (35%) thinks the use of watchman could be recommended.
This would be helpful since the specific individuals could be identified even without an alert at
the moment, however they could be prosecuted at a later date.

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Solutions to Praedial Larency




Percentage of respondents

40% 35%

Solutions to Praedial Larency


The use of watchman

Suggested solutions
Figure 10 shows what solutions farmers recommend to prevent praedial Larency

Transportation/Marketing Problems
Since farming is done as a business, the goods produce on the farm requires transportation to the
markets. Farmers without their own transportation encounter problems whereas the produce that
is transported is damage due to the rugged and bumpy condition of the road. These conditions
push away buyers and increase the length of time taken for the produce to be sold thus causing
them to be spoilt due to inefficient storage conditions. Also the prices offered for their goods may
be too low in their perspective depending on the market prices. Farmers who have their own
transportation further encounter problems in the market. Some of these problems include
competition from foreign goods, not many buyers and most commonly the prices offered for
their goods. In addition, the distance from the market is a problem for every farmer when
With intention to resolve the competition from foreign goods, farmers agree that the government
should reduce the importation of foreign goods specifically that which is similar to what local
farmers produce and to consider setting up purchasing and retailing boards for farmers, crops.

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Based on the investigation done to identify the problems that peasant farmers faced in Flagaman,
St. Elizabeth, it can be concluded that majority of the farmers are males. Farming in Flagaman is
done mainly as a business and to supply households. It also serves as one of the communitys
livelihood. Another reason farming is done in Flagaman is because of its ideal climate, wonderful
soil attributes and the supportiveness of the relief of the land in some instances.
Along with the good aspects, farming in Flagaman, St. Elizabeth are open a lot of problems.
Farmers in flagman are unable to farm on land over 1 -4 hectares because they do not have
enough money to invest. Also they do not have enough money to hire help while they have to
compete with larger estates who can afford better working conditions.
Some of the most enduring problems are those faced with pest and disease, praedial larceny and
those which are faced through marketing. The most effective pest is the beet armyworm which
feed large irregular holes into the foliage of plants and is highly resistant to most insecticides.
Farmers use cultural practises and mechanical control to reduce the effects of this pest.

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A major disease is the powdery mildew which forms a white to greyish powdery growth, usually
on the upper surfaces of leaves which as a result causes the leaves of the plant to become brown
and shrivel when mildew is extensive. Fungal insecticides that contain bicarbonate are used to
reduce the spread of infection.
Farmers also suffer greatly from praedial larceny which is treated with scant regard by the
government and as result farmers encounter financial losses regularly. The livelihood of the
community is also threatened.
Also the prices of goods are frequently insufficient because of market prices. Competition with
foreign goods serves as a nightmare for farmers, appealing for the government to reduce the
importation of foreign goods and to set up purchasing and retailing boards for some crops.
Farmers work very hard to reduce these problems which are a major time consuming procedure.
They are desperately in need of the governments assistance in some aspects.
It can be concluded that farmers in flagman do face massive challenges despite they continue to
be loyal to their farming practises and holds on to the best aspects.

CARDI. (2011). Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute.
Retrieved from http://www.cardi.org/country-offices/jamaica/
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Guiness, Paul et al. (2008), Geography for CSEC: Agriculture. Delta Place, United Kingdom:
Nelson Thornes Ltd.
Jamaica Observer. (2013). Ministry of Agriculture moves to control spread of Army Worms.
March 17, 2014. Retrieved from http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/westernnews/Ministry-ofAgriculture-moves-to-control-spread-of-Army-Worms

Niles, John. (2005). Modern Caribbean Geography: Part 3Man Made System 1. Natural
Resurces and Primary Industries. Towns Road, Oxford, Macmillan Publishers Ltd.
Organic Gardening. (2014). Common Plant Diseases and Disorders. Retrieved
from http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/common-plant-diseases-anddisorders

Rahil, Vohn A.M. (2012), New Caribbean Geography with Map Reading and CXC Questions.
West Indies, Trinidad, Caribbean Educational Publishers.
Stansly P.A. (2011). Chapter 13: Insects That Affect Vegetable Crops. University of Florida.
The Gleaner. Established (1834). Clarke urges cops to fight praedial larceny.
January 26, 2012. Retrieved from http://jamaicagleaner.com/gleaner/20120126/lead/lead9.htmls

Tally Sheet
Good day Madam/Sir. I am a 5th year student at the deCarteret High School in Mandeville, Manchester
and have chosen to do a study on farming in Flagaman for my geography School Based Assessment. I
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have put together a questionnaire to collect some information on some of the challenges you and your
farming family face generally, which will enhance my SBA substantially. It would be great if you give me
your attention and some response for about 10 minutes or less as I ask these questions from my booklet.
Thank You.
1) What gender are you?
Female I
2) What age group are you?
18 25 years I
26 32 years IIII
33 39 years II
40 years & Over IIII IIII
3) How long have you been in the farming industry?
1 5 years III
6 11 years III
12 17 years IIII
17 & over IIII II
4) What type of farming is done in flagaman?
Peasant farming IIII IIII IIII II
Commercial farming
Arable farming
Pastoral farming
Mixed farming
5) What is the purpose of peasant farming in Flagaman?
Sustain Tradition IIII
Livelihood IIII IIII I
Supplication of households IIII IIII IIII II
6) What is the estimate size of the land?
1 4 hectares IIII IIII
5 10 hectares IIII
11 16 hectares II
17 22 hectares
23 & over hectares
7) What influenced you to become a farmer?
Education II
Family tradition III
No other way out IIII IIII II
Other, please specify
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8) What makes Flagaman a good place for farming?

The fertility of the soil IIII IIII IIII II
A satisfactory climate IIII IIII IIII II
The relief of the land IIII IIII
Other, please specify
9) What types of crops are you involved in cultivating?
Escallion III
Lettuce III
Cabbage IIII III
Cucumbers IIII III
Thyme IIII
Other, please specify
10) What type of soil do you farm on mostly?
11) What are problems encountered on the soil?
Poor Drainage
Does not retain fertility well
Appearance of troublesome weeds III
Difficult to plough
12) How do you care the soil?
Use of artificial manures IIII IIII IIII II
Use of animal droppings IIII
Use of fertilizers rich in nitrogen
13) What natural disasters are you mostly affected by.
Flash-flood IIII IIII
Unpredictable weather conditions IIII IIII IIII II
14) What are some major effects of these natural disasters?
Rapid destruction IIII IIII IIII II
Shortage of ground provision in community IIII
Farmers loss most/ all their investment IIII IIII IIII II
Other, please specify
15) What could the government do to encourage farming despite natural disasters?
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Offer farmers insurances and loans IIII IIII IIII II

Pay special attention to farmers IIII IIII IIII II
Provide conditions for proper storage IIII IIII IIII II
Other please specify .

16) What are some problems faced through marketing?

Farmers do not get to choose their prices
Competition from foreign goods IIII IIII IIII II
Not many buyers IIII IIII IIII II
Other please specify .....
17) What can the government do to provide market
Import less foreign goods IIII IIII IIII II
Advertise markets for local farmers IIII
Other please specify..
18) What are some major problems faced with transportation
Distance from market IIII IIII IIII II
19) What dangers do pests and diseases pose?
Deterioration of crops IIII IIII IIII II
Farmers lost money and food supply IIII IIII IIII II
Cause farmers more money IIII IIII IIII II
Other, please specify
20) What measures are taken to reduce damage done by pests?
The use pesticides
The use of chemicals IIII IIII IIII II
Biological control
Other, please specify.
21) What are some effects of praedial larceny?
Illicit fires
Threatens the livelihood of farmers IIII IIII IIII II
Financial loss
Not affected IIII IIII III
22) What measures could be taken to reduce the effects of praedial larceny?
Implement proper fencing IIII IIII IIII II
The use of watchman IIII I
Drastic sanctions IIII IIII IIII
Other, please specify

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