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  • Minister of Agriculture, Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier, is calling on farmers to adopt modern techniques and move away from outdated practices.
  • He noted that modern agricultural practices, including greenhouse technology, will help to increase productivity and mitigate climate change and other hazards, to ensure sustainability of the sector.
  • Minister Kellier, in hailing the work of RADA, said the entity plays a pivotal role in ensuring a successful future for agriculture.

Minister of Agriculture, Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier, is calling on farmers to adopt modern techniques and move away from outdated practices.

He noted that modern agricultural practices, including greenhouse technology, will help to increase productivity and mitigate climate change and other hazards, to ensure sustainability of the sector.

The Agriculture Minister was addressing a ceremony to launch the 25th anniversary celebrations of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), held on June 30, at the agency’s offices located at 197 Old Hope Road, Kingston 6.

Minister Kellier, in hailing the work of RADA, said the entity plays a pivotal role in ensuring a successful future for agriculture.

He said that the Ministry will be relying heavily on the expertise of the RADA officers as it moves to attain Global Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification for the sector.

Global GAP provides international assurance of a country’s adherence to agricultural best practices and is a critical requirement for the export market.

As at February, some 200 farmers have been trained and the Government has secured $100 million for the 2015/16 financial year to start the implementation of Global GAP certification at the agro parks.

“As we seek to build a modern and internationally competitive sector, we are also challenged to ensure best practices in food safety and global accreditation standards,” the Minister noted.

He commended the management and staff of RADA for focussing on transforming the sector, disaster risk management, pest management, noting that the training it provides for farmers is helping to increase exports.

He noted that the authority has consistently pursued its mandate through inter-agency collaboration, such as working closely with the Jamaica 4-H Clubs to encourage young people to enter the profession, while also maintaining important links with community organisations.

“As we look forward to another 25 years of extension services, the challenge to us must be to apply a greater use of technology to improve and advance communication, training, and innovation in the sector,” he said.

“As a priority, continue to focus on increasing the use of ICT (information communications technology) in the sector, especially as it relates to communicating with our farmers on matters relevant to their livelihoods, production and productivity, including extension services and emergency disaster preparedness messages,” he further urged.