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Further institutional strengthening of the National Irrigation Commission (NIC), in order to enable the entity to better serve beneficiaries of its services, is one of the key activities expected to take place under the National Irrigation Development Project, during the 2008/09 fiscal year.
A sum of $265.3 million has been allocated in the 2008/09 Estimates of Expenditure, currently before the House of Representatives, to undertake the project.
Funded by the Government and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the project is aimed at increasing agricultural production and farmers’ incomes through improved irrigation management. The project, which commenced in May 2005, will run through to May 2010, with a further extension to November 2011.
In addition to institutional strengthening of the NIC, which has commenced, other achievements attained as at February 2008 include the commencement of land regularization works in Yallahs, St. Thomas, and Colbeck, St. Catherine; completion of a land audit by the National Land Agency (NLA); registration of three Water User Associations (WUA) with the Department of Co-operatives as Friendly Societies; commencement of Agricultural Technical Support Services to farmers, and the establishment of a Project Steering Committee.
Targets identified for implementation during the forthcoming year include: commencement of the drilling of wells in Colbeck, Yallahs, as well as New Forrest/Duff House in Manchester; procurement of pipes, fittings, valves and appurtenances for the irrigation systems, and commencement of training for Water Users Association (WUA) members, in order to strengthen the organization.