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Approximately 6,000 farmers in St. Mary have been registered so far, under the Farmers Registration Programme.
Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) Parish Manager for St. Mary, Victor Edwards, said that the number represented the vast majority of farmers in the parish.
He pointed out that the farmers have overcome the initial apprehension they had about the registration programme, and are now co-operating with the exercise out of a recognition that it is being undertaken for their benefit and the country’s agricultural sector.
Mr. Edwards said that RADA has been making every effort to encourage the farmers in the parish to become officially registered, emphasising that registration has now become an absolute necessity for farmers, if they are to enjoy the benefits and opportunities which are normally available to members of the farming community.
He stressed that farmers have to be registered in order to qualify for assistance from the People’s Co-operative (P-C) Banks or to become members of Producers Marketing Organization, noting that registration is also a compulsory qualification requirement for banana farmers seeking compensation under the European Union Banana Support Programme for losses suffered as a result of the passage of hurricanes.
The Parish Manager explained that the registration would provide information to facilitate the formulation of proper and effective planning for the agricultural sector, and that RADA is making a special effort to ensure that every farmer in St. Mary is registered, in collaboration with the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS).