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The National Irrigation Plan has been allotted $110.3 million in the 2006/07 Estimates of Expenditure, to continue to increase crop production and diversity in order to boost farming incomes and rural employment in the long term.
The programme, which falls under the Ministry of Agriculture and Land, is being funded by the Government and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).Initiated in May 2002, the programme is scheduled to last until January 2007 and has three pilot projects located at Pedro Plains and Hounslow in St. Elizabeth, and Seven Rivers in St. James.
Among the physical targets are, the development of three Water Users Associations (WUA); undertaking irrigation training and management programmes for WUA members; building of minor civil intake works in Seven Rivers and minor access road work in Little Park and Beacon; acquisition of approximately 2,150 square metres of land at four well sites, and to drill and develop wells; installation of some 40,000 metres of PVC pipes, fitting valves and appurtenances; installation of nine well pumps and ancillary equipment at Hounslow, Little Park and Beacon; and implementation of an extension service and development of a crop production and marketing programme.
A number of achievements were made up to March, 2006. A project steering committee was established and the services of a social organiser and engineering consultant engaged, while three Water User groups were formed.
Legal registration is being sought for these groups to be registered as Associations. Meanwhile, Contract ‘E’ was awarded for the supply of pipes, fitting valves and appurtenances for all three schemes. Ninety per cent of pipes and fittings for this contract were delivered and Contract ‘C’ was awarded for the installation of pipes and fittings at Beacon/Little Park, in St. Elizabeth.
For 2006/07, development of the WUAs will continue and legal registration obtained, while extension and marketing services will be provided to farmers, and irrigation training and management of programmes for WUA members will commence.
Civil works will be completed under Contract ‘C’ and the execution of Contract ‘D’ will continue, while works will begin under Contract ‘A’ and the execution of Contract ‘B’ will begin.