JIS News

State Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture, J.C. Hutchinson, has said that the Ministry has put a number of programmes in place to assist farmers, with the aim of boosting agricultural production.
“We have started what we call the production and productivity programme. This is one where we are actually distributing herbicides. We are giving people assistance in land preparation, we are providing planting material free of cost, and we are also assisting with some fertilizers and that programme is ongoing,” he stated at a recent Agri-business Expo in St. Elizabeth.
He advised persons interested in accessing this programme to contact their Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) extension officer.
Other projects, the State Minister cited, include the Fruit Tree Crop Programme, where persons, with an acre or more of land, could receive fruit trees such as naseberry, sweet sop, sour sop, June plum, mango, or star apple, to plant orchards. He informed that another phase of the programme, would get underway on April 1, “where we will be providing you with the seedlings free of cost. and with that, we will be monitoring the whole programme to get it going.”
He said that to ensure that there was a market for crops produced under these assistance programmes, the Ministry has employed, in each parish, a marketing officer “to take off whatever produce is within that parish”.
“We are hoping that anybody, who produces anything, we are able to have a market for you, if you cannot find the market yourself,” he pointed out.
In the meantime, he encouraged farmers to get into the value-added areas of the sector, noting that, “this is one area where we are not only looking at the raw material, we want you to go into the processing, and we are looking to see if we can set up cottage industries”.
These cottage industries, he pointed out, could provide employment through the establishment of small processing plants.
The exposition, held at the Santa Cruz Community Centre, was to expose young people, age 18 to 35 years, to the opportunities in non-traditional agricultural areas.

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