JIS News

A sum of $13.9 million has been allotted to the Citrus Replanting Project in the 2006/07 Estimates of Expenditure, to prevent further decline in the industry, which is threatened by the citrus tristeza virus, and to provide growers with the necessary technical information to effectively manage the groves.
As contained in the Estimates of Expenditure, which was tabled by Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. Omar Davies in the House of Representatives yesterday (April 12), the objectives of the project are to prevent the decline of the citrus industry by replanting 1556 hectares of groves in five years; sensitize the public to the threat of citrus tristeza; and increase the technical capabilities of the research staff to continually establish, monitor and evaluate technologies.
Funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the government of Jamaica, the project is implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Land. Achievements up to February 2006 include: full operation of the Project Implementation Unit (PIU); full operation of extension and certification services and preparation of 89 farmlands; 5,695 farm visits and 62 field days for extension services and monitoring of production; and the movement of 499,614 certified plants from 20 registered nurses.
Other activities included the completion of a two-year public education programme; research services in the area of entomology; pathology and agronomy; and the provision of credit services. Forty-five loans totaling $142.879 million were approved with a total of $106.88 million disbursed.
For the 2006/07 fiscal year, the PIU will facilitate monthly steering committee meetings, produce annual work plans and budget of the project as well as quarterly reports, and prepare and submit to the CDB, claims and reimbursements against the grant and loan.
In addition, consultants will provide research services in the area of plant pathology and agronomy and analyze survey and experimental data of soil and leaf nutrient levels, while four quarterly progress reports and an annual report will be submitted. Also, incidence of disease on a parish basis and the strains of the virus in Jamaica will be provided, while effective use of pesticides for vector control, will be determined.
Meanwhile, new loan applications will be accepted and balances on approved loans disbursed. The extension services provider will submit a work plan and budget for the fifth year of the project, as well as monthly and quarterly reports, monitor demonstration plots and stage demonstration sessions. The provider will also organize 24 field days and 20 workshops, distribute posters, educational materials and newsletters; participate in the Denbigh Agricultural Show; maintain the database and make entries on a regular basis and assist in the organization of, and participate in meetings planned.
The certification service provider will also submit a work plan and budget for the fifth year; register nurseries and visit them on a monthly basis to monitor production of certified planting materials and produce tags for certified plants, as well as maintain the database and make entries on a regular basis and develop training programmes for staff and nursery operators.