Farmers don’t know enough about how to combat livestock diseases and plant pests on St Helena, according to the draft agriculture policy for the island.
But it also says they are not given advice quickly enough by the government – and there often aren’t enough resources to take action anyway.
To improve livestock farming, the report says, “the island needs to address first the prevalence of animal pests and diseases.”
It calls for more suitable animal housing and a more beneficial environment, and training on how to spot early signs of disease and administer some medicines.
The island’s Animal Diseases Information System needs to be improved, it says.
The Growing Forward paper also highlights “gaps in surveillance and control capacity” and lack of chemicals to protect against specific plant diseases.
And it says there is “limited appreciation by producers of the purpose and benefits of the adoption of a localised plant protection programme”.
Strategies proposed include training to recognise problems early, and professional pest control and bio-security on the island.
But in 2012, St Helena Government laid off some pest control workers – amid complaints about rat numbers – because it could not afford to keep them on.
Better storage facilities are also proposed – a need already identified by Gillian Scott Moore, the hospitality adviser and keen cook who set up a training restaurant in Jamestown.