JIS News

The Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) parish office in St. Catherine is reporting an increase in the number of requests from farmers to utilise a tractor available for land preparation in the parish.
The vehicle is one of six operating under the JAS’ tractor tillage service, which was financed by the Development Bank of Jamaica at a cost of $14 million. Through the service, farmers in St. Catherine, Portland, St. Mary and St. Elizabeth are able to access tractors, at subsidised rates, to till their fields.
“To date, we have been having numerous requests, because the need for it is very great,” JAS Parish Coordinator, Lincoln Walters told JIS News. He said that so far, over 40 farmers have used the tractor to do their replanting since the passing of Hurricane Ivan.
Mr. Walters said that farmers hiring the tractor were charged $5,000 per hectare to plough their land. He noted that the fee was below the market value and was used for the upkeep of the vehicle, to buy fuel and to pay the operator. He noted that farmers desirous of using the tractor must first clear their land of stumps and other debris to minimise the risk of damage to the wheels of the tractor.
Meanwhile, the JAS Coordinator told JIS News that membership at the JAS had increased as a result of the tractor service. “Nearly everyone using the tractor, who was not a member before, has now become a member. Once you request the tractor, we advise you to become a member of the JAS,” he said, noting that persons who are not members have to pay the market price of $8,000 per hectare.
The operation of the tractor is being supervised by a committee comprising representatives of the JAS, the Rural Agricultural Development Authority and the President of the JAS, Dr. Trevor Dewdney.

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