RADA Provides Quality Seedlings for St. James Farmers

Photo: Marlon Tingling Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) St. James Agricultural Parish Manager, Sadie Dixon Bennett, inspects sweet peppers being grown on its demonstration plot at Catherine Hall in Montego Bay.

Story Highlights

  • The St. James Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) is providing quality vegetable planting materials for farmers in the parish, through its plant nursery, which is located in Catherine Hall, Montego Bay.
  • RADA St. James Agricultural Manager, Sadie Dixon Bennett, tells JIS News that the nursery, which has been in operation for the past six years, has resulted in the production of top quality sweet pepper, cucumber, cabbage, ginger and tomato seedlings for farmers to increase crop yields.
  • St. James has 8,642 registered farmers and according to Mrs. Dixon Bennett, they have embarked on a drive to increase production in a number of crops and ensure that the parish reclaims its top spot in helping Jamaica to meet its food security needs.

The St. James Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) is providing quality vegetable planting materials for farmers in the parish, through its plant nursery, which is located in Catherine Hall, Montego Bay.

RADA St. James Agricultural Manager, Sadie Dixon Bennett, tells JIS News that the nursery, which has been in operation for the past six years, has resulted in the production of top quality sweet pepper, cucumber, cabbage, ginger and tomato seedlings for farmers to increase crop yields.

Mrs. Dixon Bennett says establishment of the nursery came out of a needs assessment which was done some years ago, and its sustainability is the result of the great support being received from the farmers across the parish.

“The nursery has been established to produce certified seedlings for the farmers to plant in their fields. We want to ensure that at all times farmers have adequate planting materials and they are sold to them at a very nominal cost,” she explains.

And, in the effort to ensure that best practices are adopted by farmers, RADA St. James has also established a vegetable demonstration plot at its Catherine Hall grounds. At this plot, selected farmers attend workshops and are given technical support in respect of how to plant and care for their crops.

“What we try to demonstrate out there is best practices…We use it as a training ground to train some of our farmers who are in vegetable production, so they can look at best practices and adopt these out there in their fields” Mrs. Dixon Bennett says.

St. James has 8,642 registered farmers and according to Mrs. Dixon Bennett, they have embarked on a drive to increase production in a number of crops and ensure that the parish reclaims its top spot in helping Jamaica to meet its food security needs.

“Our main crops are plantains and bananas and we are big into MD2 Pineapples. Right now, we are on a mission to increase production and productivity whereby we have identified some crops which will be used to drive production in this parish, namely Irish potato, ginger, sweet potato, dasheen, hot pepper and red peas,” she tells JIS News.

“The farmers are quite excited…and they share the vision that we here at RADA share. So, we are working closely with our farmers to ensure that St. James increases production and productivity and that we are a force to be reckoned with within the agricultural sector,” Mrs. Dixon Bennett adds.

The RADA Agricultural Parish Manager says farmers have been doing very well in a number of other areas, including apiculture and livestock rearing, aimed at providing sustainable activities for at-risk youth in some communities and selected high schools.

“My livestock figures show that we are trending up with poultry, goat and piggery production and apiculture, which we have taken on in a significant way. We have targeted youth and helped them to do something productive,” she adds.

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