JIS News

Minister of Agriculture, Roger Clarke on Friday (May 27) handed over farm tools and an irrigation system valued at over $11 million to farmers in the Morant Settlement community in North Clarendon.
The equipment was provided by the government of Italy through the Food and Agricultural Organization’s (FAO) Food Security Project, which was implemented in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in November of 2003.
Minister Clarke said that the US$5 million project, which was officially launched in Trinidad and Tobago, is designed to significantly improve agricultural production and food security within the region.
“It aims to strengthen the capacity of small farmers, rural communities and national and regional organizations to improve food security and nutrition as well as to promote healthy living among the vast majority of Caribbean people,” he said.
According to the Agriculture Minister, beneficiary small farmers in the 15 -member CARICOM states, and the Dominican Republic, were being introduced to techniques to increase their productivity and competitiveness, including efficient water management to grow fruits and vegetables.
Jamaica, he said, was getting $16.8 million of the total allocation, with farmers in Morant receiving the majority of the amount, while six hectares in the Vineyards community in St. Catherine is being developed at a cost of just under $3.9 million; four hectares in Spring Gardens, Portland at a cost of some $1.2 million; as well as another four hectares in Faith’s Pen St. Ann at a cost of about $266,000. About 69 farmers are expected to benefit from these projects.
Meanwhile, Thomas Burton, Deputy Executive Director of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), told JIS News that some 40 farmers from the Morant Settlement would be receiving a Massey Ferguson Tractor and a plough for land preparation, as well as irrigation equipment.
He said that farmers would be asked to produce a mixed range of crops on about 160 hectares (400 acres) of land to meet market demand.
In addition, they will receive approved seeds, fertilizers, and various chemical sprays as well as training in the use of the equipment.
According to Mr. Burton, tangible results would be realized from the project in about one year.

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