Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Roger Clarke, has commended the country’s farmers, noting that they are the unsung heroes of Jamaica.
Addressing the 57th annual Hague Agricultural and Food Show, held on Wednesday, February 13 in Falmouth, Trelawny, Minister Clarke said despite drought conditions, farmers continue to produce high quality crops and livestock to meet the demands of the Jamaican market.
“Despite the drought, going around and looking at some of the displays, I must say congrats to our farmers. They have displayed a level of resilience that recognizes them as the unsung heroes of our land,” he stated.
He noted that the recently announced $45 million crop production programme is aimed at assisting farmers to mitigate the serious effects of the drought, and to “lift production as much as we can”.
[RELATED: Minister Clarke Announces $45 Million Drought Mitigation Programme]
The programme will establish 645 hectares of select crops in 13 parishes to counter any shortfall in cash crops resulting from the dry conditions affecting the island.
It will involve production incentives to farmers in irrigated and non-irrigated areas, to encourage them to plant additional acreages; and the trucking of water to dry farming areas in St. Elizabeth.
“We will be inspecting farms throughout the country and we will be targeting the areas where this can happen, as far as production goes and we will be selecting the crops which we know can come very quickly,” Mr. Clarke said.
He announced that during the next few weeks, the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) will be distributing some $15 million in planting material to more than 2,500 farmers.
In addition to the planting material, the Ministry will also offset the price of fertilizer to those farmers by 50 per cent and will help with land preparation, especially in the drought-affected areas.
Minister Clarke urged the country’s farmers to grasp the opportunity provided under the project, to boost productivity.
“If Jamaica is going to survive as a country and be able to stand on our own two legs, we are going to have to produce our way out of the challenges. What better way than through agriculture.