$800 Million Allocated to Repair Farm Roads

Photo: Rudranath Fraser Newly appointed Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw (right) addresses President of the Jamaica Agricultural Society, (JAS), Norman Grant (centre) during his remarks at the launch of Farmers’ Month on Tuesday, April 4 at the JAS Church Street headquarters in downtown Kingston. Also pictured is Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Donovan Stanberry.

Story Highlights

  • Newly appointed Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw, has announced that the Government will be allocating $800 million for the improvement of the island’s farm road network.
  • Mr. Shaw, who was speaking at the launch of Farmers’ Month on Tuesday (April 4) at the Jamaica Agricultural Society’s (JAS) Church Street headquarters in downtown Kingston, said the allocation, included in the Budget for the 2018/19 fiscal year, will see the rehabilitation of several roadways, which will help to boost agriculture.
  • “As a rural Member of Parliament for a constituency in which agriculture is the main economic activity, I am extremely sensitive to the plight of farmers. As the former Minister of Finance, I had no hesitation in ensuring a substantial allocation in last year’s Budget of nearly $500 million for the rehabilitation of farm roads, plus another $800 million in this year’s Budget for the same purpose,” he said.

Newly appointed Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw, has announced that the Government will be allocating $800 million for the improvement of the island’s farm road network.

Mr. Shaw, who was speaking at the launch of Farmers’ Month on Tuesday (April 4) at the Jamaica Agricultural Society’s (JAS) Church Street headquarters in downtown Kingston, said the allocation, included in the Budget for the 2018/19 fiscal year, will see the rehabilitation of several roadways, which will help to boost agriculture.

“As a rural Member of Parliament for a constituency in which agriculture is the main economic activity, I am extremely sensitive to the plight of farmers. As the former Minister of Finance, I had no hesitation in ensuring a substantial allocation in last year’s Budget of nearly $500 million for the rehabilitation of farm roads, plus another $800 million in this year’s Budget for the same purpose,” he said.

Mr. Shaw, who was appointed to the post late March, noted that there is significant potential for growth in the agricultural sector.

“It has only been a week now since I assumed this portfolio, but I have already made it abundantly clear that my mission is to unleash the latent potential of agriculture, manufacturing and tourism, thus contributing to growth in the economy and enhancing rural development and prosperity for all farmers. The farmers are at the centre of the Ministry’s mandate,” he said.

President of JAS, Norman Grant, told JIS News that the announcement is welcome news for the island’s farmers, as upgraded road conditions will greatly improve efficiency as well as contribute to increased earnings in the agricultural sector.

“I would like to welcome the Minister’s announcement for the allocation of $800 million towards farm road improvement… . We called last year for $1 billion, up from the $500 million and we are happy that it is moving in the right direction. We will engage the Ministry and Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) to ensure that this is expedited, because there is a strong correlation between increased production and improvement of the rural and farm road network. The JAS is delighted that this allocation has been made,” the JAS President said.

He added, “It is important to note, that if we want to increase production and productivity, that we (address the need for a proper) rural road network and farm roads in the agricultural areas.”

Celebrated annually throughout the Month of April, this year’s commemoration of Farmers’ Month marks the 35th consecutive staging since its launch by the JAS to recognise the contribution of Jamaica’s farmers to national development.

Activities for the month are being held under the theme ‘Grow What We Eat…Eat What We Grow’ and include church services, health fairs, training sessions, a farmers’ award ceremony and a mini expo.

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