Advertisement
JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Agriculture, Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier, on Thursday (July 9), handed over 40 water tanks to farmers in St. Elizabeth.
  • The donation forms part of Government’s drought mitigation strategy, in which some 300 tanks, at a cost of $5 million, will be presented to farmers in drought-affected areas across the island.

Minister of Agriculture, Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier, on Thursday (July 9), handed over 40 water tanks to farmers in St. Elizabeth.

The donation forms part of Government’s drought mitigation strategy, in which some 300 tanks, at a cost of $5 million, will be presented to farmers in drought-affected areas across the island.

“This is the first phase of the programme and I can tell you that there is more to come, providing the finances are made available,” Minister Kellier said at the handover ceremony held at the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) offices in Santa Cruz.

He said the Ministry acknowledges that more needs to be done to reduce the impact of the dry spell on farming communities. As such, he informed that a full report is being prepared for submission to Cabinet, on the effects of the drought and what is needed to mobilise the sector going forward.

“Preliminary reports from RADA indicate that all parishes, with the exception of some western parishes, have been seriously affected by the severe dry spells,” Minister Kellier pointed out.

He informed that in St. Thomas alone, drought and bush fires have affected some 785 farmers, resulting in losses of over 100 tonnes of produce.

He said the Ministry, in response to the dry weather conditions, “continues to not only provide immediate relief, but also through various programmes, is seeking to build the sector’s resilience to climate change…this includes the provision of water-harvesting facilities and the provision of training in climate-smart agricultural practices.”

Minister Kellier is imploring farmers to take steps to mitigate the effects of the drought by putting in place climate-smart agricultural methods, establishing small-scale rain-harvesting systems, continuing to practise dry land farming techniques, and employing drip irrigation where possible.