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Food for the Poor, today (Dec.10), handed over two tractors, valued upwards of $4 million, to the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Christopher Tufton, at the Ministry’s headquarters in Kingston.
The tractors, which will benefit small farmers in St. Elizabeth and Manchester, were donated as part of Food for the Poor’s Rural Economic Agricultural Programme (REAP).
Director of REAP, George Thompson, said over the past five years, the programme has been assisting small farmers across the island, providing them with seeds, tools, training, and other tangible support.
“A farmer doesn’t look at himself as an ordinary person out there toiling with his back bent.he is a business man. Farming is no longer a way of life, it’s a business,” he pointed out, noting that for the business to survive, equipment needs to be upgraded.Mr. Thompson said this donation was just a small part of the organisation’s plans to continue its support of the agricultural sector.
In his response, Dr. Tufton expressed appreciation for the donation, noting that “these machines are ideal for certain types of crops and certain types of soil…dealing, primarily, with vegetable cultivation. This is going to fit nicely in our drive for improvements in our productivity and production, which we have been focusing on over the past year.”
The Minister informed that several other larger tractors capable of “doing more intensive work, have been ordered, and added that “these (two tractors) will certainly help a number of our small farmers.
Food for the Poor, founded by Jamaican businessman, Ferdinand Mahfood in 1983, is an inter-denominational relief and development organisation, working in 16 countries in the Caribbean and Central America. The organisation, which is the largest international relief body in the United States, provides food, housing, health care, education, water projects, micro-enterprise development assistance, and emergency relief to the poorest within the societies where it operates.