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Some $149 million has been allocated to enhance the irrigation management systems, for agricultural production and farmer outputs.
This is outlined in the 2009/10 Estimates of Expenditure, currently before the House of Representatives.
During the fiscal year, the National Irrigation Development Project will continue the training of Water User Association members, to strengthen the organisations; commence drilling of wells in Yallahs, St. Thomas; and initiate the procurement of pipes, fittings, valves and appurtenances for the Colbeck, St. Catherine irrigation development area.
The project, which began in May 2005 seeks to strengthen the National Irrigation Commission by improving the institutional framework and capacity for irrigation management in the country. The initial physical targets included a re-organisation of the Commission to progressively focus on planning, monitoring and regulating the irrigation sector, while developing a new business strategy and strengthening the management, accounting, billing and operation systems.
The irrigation project also highlights the promotion and formation of Water User Associations in Colbeck, New Forest, Yallahs, Essex Valley and St. Dorothy, with an aim to serve 1,000 farmers on 1,700 hectares of land.
Technical assistance was also initially envisaged for the training of some 30 assistants as well as educating 1,000 farmers in topics related to farming with irrigation and the use of sound environmental practices.
Several achievements were made under the irrigation development project up to February 2009. Land regularisation works were started in Yallahs, Colbeck and New Forest/Duff House in Manchester, along with the completion of land audits in Yallahs and New Forest/Duff House.
Additionally, three Water User Associations were registered with the Department of Co-operatives as Friendly Societies; two contracts to drill wells in New Forest/Duff House were signed, and one Agricultural Development Officer was engaged to provide technical assistance and training to farmers.
The National Irrigation Commission is the implementing agency of the project, that is being funded by the Government and the Inter-American Development Bank. The project is scheduled for completion by November 2011.

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