KINGSTON — Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton will host an Arable Lands Irrigating and Growing for the Nation (ALIGN) business meeting on April 27, at the St. Dorothy's Anglican Church Hall, Church Pen, Old Harbour, St. Catherine, commencing at 5:00 p.m.
The meeting is to engage farmers in St. Catherine and areas of Clarendon who jointly have 4,000 acres of arable land, which are to be put into production shortly. Crops to be grown are rice, sugar cane, vegetables and cash crops.
At the meeting, farmers will have an opportunity to interact with technocrats from the National Irrigation Commission Limited (NIC), Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Agricultural Investment Corporation (AIC) and financial institutions, in order to gather information to assist them to start growing the crops.
In February 2009, Dr. Tufton introduced the ALIGN initiative with the objective of revolutionising agriculture, by re-engaging all un-utilised and under-utilised land with irrigation infrastructure back into production.
The Minister met with farmers in the various irrigation districts islandwide, and to date, this initiative has seen the return of approximately 7,000 acres of land into cane, vegetable and cash crop production, mainly in St Catherine in areas such as Bernard Lodge and Bushy Park, St. Catherine, and in Clarendon.
By GODFREY BARNES, JIS Editorial Manager