Sunday, April 21, 2024

Small farmer at the mercy of monkeys

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For the past three years, small farmer Richard Bourne has been losing thousands of dollars’ worth of crops to monkeys.

Bourne, who cultivates just over a quarter-acre of land in Belair, St George, said his problems worsened from the start of the year and he was at his wits’ end.

Bourne said he tried laying newspaper in between the beds, erecting scarecrows and hanging reflective disks and crocus bags over the crops, but nothing seemed to be working.

“I lost four crops for the year – beets, cassava, corn (main crop) and sweet potatoes. I just lost $ 6 000 in lettuce from the ash fall and the monkeys, so I planted Chinese cabbage, but as soon as I transplanted them the monkeys pulled them up. So I tried regular cabbage. They pulled up a lot of what I had transplanted and when the rest got to maturity, they eat out about a quarter of each head,” he lamented.

The 66-year-old said the other small farmers in the area were not experiencing the same problem as they mainly planted herbs. He added all this had made it difficult for him to make a living from farming.

“So now I have an entire crop of cabbage for pig food because there is nothing for me to salvage. [The monkeys] are smart and the domineering male scopes out the field. It seems everything I plant they destroy except for garlic and the herbs I have.”

Bourne said he wanted to highlight the issue in the event that someone could offer him a workable solution. (SB)

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