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JIS News

Farmers in rural St. Andrew are to benefit from the construction of a 30-metre Bailey bridge and the re-surfacing of a 2-kilometre farm road from Brandon Hill to Ginger River at a total cost of some $14.4 million.
Work is expected to begin on the road within the next two weeks and when completed, work on the bridge will commence.
The construction of the bridge will enable the farmers to reach some 1200 hectares (3,000 acres) of agricultural land situated across the Ginger River. Currently, there is no bridge across the river and farmers have to walk through the water to get to their farms, which is often inaccessible, especially during the rainy seasons.
The Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) is providing funds for the projects, which falls under the government’s Poverty Reduction Programme (PRP). A project of the European Union (EU) and the government of Jamaica, PRP aims to improve living conditions in deprived communities by providing access to quality basic infrastructure and services, especially in the areas of sanitation, water and health. It is being financed through a 6 million Euro grant with JSIF serving as the implementing agency.
Meanwhile, European Union Technical Advisor to JSIF and Project Manager of PRP, Gangolf Schmidt, told JIS News that the Brandon Hill community was expected to contribute some $3.2 million in cash or kind, towards the construction of the road and bridge. Included in the community’s contribution are the labour cost and the bridge, which will be donated by the National Works Agency and assembled by a team from the Jamaica Defence Force.
Mr. Schmidt informed that the construction of the road and bridge were among 28 community development projects being undertaken by PRP across the island. He told JIS News, that the Fund had embarked on a new concept called Community Based Contracting, which involved community groups being in charge of the implementation of the project.
He noted that the Brandon Hill community would be fully responsible for the implementation of the projects and would be legally represented by the Belair Jamaica Agriculture Society branch in Brandon Hill.
“They have established a project account, we’re transferring the funds in three tranches, and the project will probably start within the next two weeks,” he said, while noting that there will be “strict monitoring” and supervision from JSIF.