$174 Million Allocated to Modern Agricultural Technology Project


A sum of $174 Million has been earmarked in the 2008/09 Estimates of Expenditure, currently before the House of Representatives, to undertake the Modern Agricultural Technology and Capacity Building project in the Ministry of Agriculture.
The three-year project, which commences in April 2008, is divided into two areas, one focusing on marine products and environmental stewardship, for which $107.9 million has been provided, and the other on greenhouse technology, for which $66 million has been allocated.
The marine and environmental component aims to increase and sustain production of high quality marine products, and enhance environmental stewardship through a strengthened cadre of fishers and fisher organizations. It is envisaged that during 2008/09, this aspect of the project will see the establishment of a Project Implementation Unit; procurement of vehicle and equipment; establish 1,000 artificial reefs; undertake training of fishers; prepare designs and engage the services of contractors to effect civil works, and commence construction of fishing beach facilities.
The greenhouse component of the project, seeks to increase the productivity and sustain production and marketing of high quality marine products; develop a technology-driven, modern, efficient, competitive and sustainable sector, with linkages to other economic steps, and support adaptation of greenhouse technology.
For the 2008/09 fiscal year, it is anticipated that 16 pilot research mini green houses will be constructed and put into operation in four locations; packaging facilities will be established for four clusters; two tech-packs of validated green house technologies will be developed; four specialists, four extension officers and 40 farmers will be trained; construction of 40 commercial greenhouses will be undertaken, and assistance will be provided for the establishment of marketing arrangements for crops.
The overall project, which lasts until March 2011, will be jointly funded by the Government and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

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