The Ministry of Agriculture, through the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), has provided assistance to more than 100 farmers in St. Elizabeth, who had their crops destroyed by Tropical Storm Nicole in September last year.
Speaking at a handing over ceremony in New Market, on February 22, Chief Executive Officer of RADA, Al Powell, explained that the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton had mandated the agency to help the farmers get back on their feet.
"We had to wait until the land dried up, before we send in the tractors to plough. Secondly, the support is in two phases. We offered support in two districts already, today we are offering in the other districts. We are supporting 121 farmers in some 10 communities," Mr. Powell outlined.
The farmers were presented with fertilisers, vegetable seeds, chicken and chicken feed. Some 20 acres of land will be ploughed by RADA in the area.
Mr. Powell encouraged the farmers to plant crops that will be marketable. "What I want you to do, is to make sure that what we recommend for you to plant is what you plant. So, at the end of the period, you will have a market for your crops. The Extension Officers are working with you to ensure that you plant the right crops. We are demand driven in terms of what we plant," he said.
For farmer, Elaine Chambers, the agricultural supplies have come at a good time. "I lost everything. I started planting a little corn, and I am thankful for the fertiliser. The help is good, and we appreciate it," she said.
Meanwhile, Councillor for the New Market Division, Ernest Hendricks, said he was pleased at the help for the farmers. "Fellow farmers, it is for you to make use of this opportunity, and to start putting your lives back together," he said.
CONTACT: GARFIELD L. ANGUS
JIS REGIONAL OFFICE