MANDEVILLE — Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Kenneth Baugh, has pledged support through his Constituency Development Fund (CDF) to undertake an “economic project,” which will benefit young people in Colbeck, St. Catherine.
“It is going to be a significant catalyst, not only for rural agricultural development, but for education and social development for the people in the community,” Dr. Baugh said at Wednesday’s ceremony May 11 to commission the Colbeck irrigation system into service.
Dr. Baugh, who is also Member of Parliament for West Central St. Catherine, said that he has been having meetings with the residents to discuss the project, but “we were just waiting on the water."
The project, which was implemented by the National Irrigation Commission (NIC), through US$747,945 in funding from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), will provide 1.2 million gallons of water per day to support the irrigation needs of farmers in the area. It comprises a sub-division of 95 farm lots on 110 hectares of land.
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, said that the construction of the system “is a significant step forward, and the benefits will be realised in the months to come."
He informed that some 65 titles have been issued to farmers for parcels of land in the area, which will enable them to access funding to develop their properties.
“Titling is critical because what it does for the farmers, it enables them, it empowers them to use that security of tenure to access critical financing towards developing their farms, and that, for me, is an important step toward the overall development of the (irrigation area),” he added.
President of the Colbeck Water Users Association, Yorkin Walters, said that the land is being prepared for the cultivation of crops that are heavily imported. “We will, not long from now, be replacing a lot of imported goods, and lower the import bill for the country,” he stated.
The NIC will be working with the farmers increase to crop yields, achieve net income cost recovery, and ensure the sustainability of the water users association.
By CONTACT: GARFIELD L. ANGUS, JIS REGIONAL OFFICE