General — 16 April 2014 — by Kareem Clarke
Lab results for Valley of Peace crop damage still pending

It has been almost a month since Green Tropics – a sugar cane company which was clearing thousands of acres of land to plant sugar cane – was fingered by vegetable farmers in the Valley of Peace village in Cayo as being responsible for significant crop damage, and while the company maintains its innocence, the farmers and the Ministry of Agriculture are patiently awaiting the verdict via plant samples that were sent abroad for testing.

The company had used an airplane to spray an industrial herbicide while conducting massive clearing of land near the Valley of Peace on March 15, but fell into hot water, so to speak, when farmers from the area alleged that the herbicide which was sprayed by Green Tropics killed their crops.

The test results were scheduled to be in by last Friday, April 4, but today when we contacted the Chief Agricultural Officer, Roberto Harrison, he told us that the Ministry is still presently waiting for the results to be sent back from El Salvador, however he expects that they should be in by tomorrow, after which they will be able to determine whether the damage to the crops was indeed caused by the herbicide that was used by Green Tropics.

In the wake of the furious complaints that were launched by the Valley of Peace farmers, Green Tropics did an independent analysis and we understand that the preliminary results of those tests indicate that the fields are infected by a virus and that the damaged crops were not as a result of Green Tropics’ aerial spraying.

Amandala also spoke to the country representative for Green Tropics, Beverly Burke, and she noted that the company collected samples and sent them to two independent labs in Spain and Guatemala to evaluate the type of damage that occurred and if that damage is consistent with the type of herbicide that was used to carry out the exercise.

Although the company is confident that they are not responsible for any of the damaged crops, Burke stated that they are also awaiting the results of the samples that were sent out by the Ministry of Agriculture – which is also assessing the financial value of the damage – so that both parties can find common ground in regards to the unfortunate incident.

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