JIS News

Between April 2002 and March 2003, a total of $25.2 million was spent on 31 projects in five bauxite parishes, under Phase Four of the seven year-old Bauxite Community Development Programme (BCDP), implemented by the Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI) in October 1996. The parishes are Manchester, St. Elizabeth, Clarendon, St.Ann and St. Catherine.
The programme aims to reinvest earnings from the bauxite/alumina industry, by providing funds to implement long-term projects that are of particular worth, in communities affected by bauxite mining and alumina processing operations.
This information is contained in the annual Report of the JBI for 2002/03, which was tabled in the House last week.
Phase four of the BCDP began in April 2002 and continued through to March 2003, resulting in the implementation of several infrastructural, agricultural, skills training and small venture projects.
Twenty-seven of the projects implemented during this period were new. Some $20.6 million was spent on new projects with $2.2 million being spent on agriculture, $17.6 million on infrastructure and $0.8 million on small enterprise. There was an additional $4.6 million being paid out for agricultural projects carried over from Phase Three of the BCDP.
Of significance among the new projects implemented was the Walkerswood Agricultural Project. This project was authorized by the BCDP and jointly implemented with the Inter-American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture (IICA), West Indies Alumina Company (WINDALCO) and Walkerswood Caribbean Foods Limited.
The project began in December 2002 with the BCDP’s investment in the cultivation of approximately 32 hectares (80 acres) of mostly mined out lands to produce a minimum of 363,636 kilograms (800,000 pounds) of Scotch Bonnet and West Indian red pepper by the end of the year.
Walkerswood Caribbean Foods Limited, through its extended plant facility, has an assured market for the peppers produced by the farmers in the project.
The peppers are to be supplied under closely monitored conditions and carry a guaranteed price of $35.20 per kilogram ($16.00 per pound). Individual contracts have been signed with the farmers to ensure a commitment to the project and also to ensure a payback to the BCDP of 15 per cent of earnings from each delivery to Walkerswood, until the initial investment is recovered.
The JBI also embarked on a project for the production and processing of castor beans for the local market. This project will use the vast available acreages of mined-out bauxite lands on which the beans grow.
Another of the programmes was the Mocho Goat Project in Clarendon that was implemented by the IICA. The programme is in its third year and has produced good results with the construction of the model mother goat house occupied by some 150 pure bred and graded Nubian and Alpine species. There is also ongoing training in animal husbandry, onsite farm management and the development of an environmentally friendly vermin-composting system.
Plans are also in place for the establishment of 10 satellite farms, milk storage and processing facilities and the development of value added products.
In addition, the BCDP helped with the building of four new classrooms at the Lennon High School in Clarendon and the rehabilitation of the roof and sanitary facilities at the Harmons All-age School.

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