Piano grass (Themeda arguens), reputed to have been introduced to Jamaica as packing material in an imported piano1 . There are about 27 varieties of this highly invasive grass/weed worldwide and in Jamaica the species previously identified as Themeda arguens is of concern as it has progressively taken over lawns, pastures and roadsides . The grass is of particular concern to livestock farmers due to its highly invasive and aggressive nature and the concomitant negative effect on livestock productivity, especially during its annual seeding period (November/December – April) , when the palatability of the grass diminishes significantly and the seed awns can cause severe damage to the mouth when consumed, and feet of livestock , sometimes requiring veterinary intervention.
Opening of Conference Space Orientation and Ice Breaker Activities in the Gather.Town space
The burgeoning of small gourmet chocolate boutiques worldwide serves as a key driver for niche and ultra-niche marketing of cocoa (Theobroma cacao L.), branded as (a) geographical indication (b) estate origin or (c) based on unique genetics. Over 90% of the cacao farms globally, are small with an average size between 2 and 5 hectares and can benefit from supplying to the gourmet boutiques.
A major challenge facing farmers in Portland, Jamaica is dry weather, especially during the optimal growing season from April through August. During this five-month period Portland suffered from severe dry spells during the years 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2020. A second challenge is the damage to crops and land as well as loss of livestock due to tropical storms or hurricanes and the associated flooding. Portland farmers have suffered losses due to an active hurricane season numerous times and most recently in the years 2004, 2005, 2012 and 2020.
Vector-borne diseases have since the 17th century been the leading cause of death by disease more than any other causes combined, even preventing development in the tropics (Gubler 1998). Of all insect vectors, Aedes aegypti proves to be the deadliest as it is the primary vector of the four most notorious vector-borne diseases – chikungunya (chik-V), Zika (Zik-V), dengue fever and yellow fever viruses. Control of the spread of Aedesborne diseases is primarily reliant on the control of the vector responsible for their spread. Traditionally, vector control relied on environmental hygiene and the elimination of breeding sites (Gubler 1998), shifting only in the 1980s to the use of synthetic chemicals in the form of carbamate, organochloride, organophosphate and pyrethroid insecticides (Norris, et al. 2015). However, the evolution of Aedes aegypti resistance to synthetic chemicals have made control of the spread of the vector and its diseases increasingly difficult. This led to the exploration of innovative and alternative methods in the control of Aedes aegypti.
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