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The Government will spend $15 million this year on the National Irrigation Development Project, as it seeks to improve crop production and diversity, thereby increasing farm incomes and rural employment in the long term.
This is contained in the 2010/11 Estimates of Expenditure, which is now before the House of Representatives. The National Irrigation Development Plan has three pilot projects located at Pedro Plains and Hounslow in St. Elizabeth and Seven Rivers in St. James.
Achievements up to February 2010 included: the procurement and installation of pipes, fittings and appurtenances for Seven Rivers and Beacon/Little Park; installation of new pipelines and partial replacement of old asbestos pipes completed in Hounslow; rehabilitation of five wells, installation of new switch gears and pumps at these wells, and over 80 farmers receiving on-farm equipment on credit from the project.
For the 2010/11 fiscal year, the project seeks to continue to provide for the Water Users Association; continue to provide assistance to farmers with extension services; monitor defect liability period for contracts; and continue to provide assistance to farmers with marketing and planning.
The project is funded jointly by the Government of Jamaica and the Caribbean Development Bank. The project which started in May 2002, is scheduled to be completed in December 2010.