JIS News

Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Floyd Green, says that repairs will continue on farm roads in the upcoming fiscal year, through a $1.5-billion allocation in the 2021/2022 Budget for such works and to provide incentives to boost food production.

The Minister, who was speaking to JIS News at the recent commissioning of the upgraded $32-million Ebony Park irrigation system in Southern Clarendon, informed that the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) has been charged to expedite the repairs as soon as the Budget is approved and the funds are disbursed.

“In the context of a challenging time, we are grateful. RADA is to expedite spending that money. We want to ensure that we get into those communities and make a greater impact. We continue to focus on our farm roads,” he said.

Minister Green noted that in 2020/2021, the Ministry was able to commence and complete repairs on 49 of 61 farm roads that were slated for attention, and work on several others will be finished before the end of the financial year.

He said that the improvement of farm roads is important in enabling farmers to “ramp up” production and ensure that they have an “easier time to access their fields and markets”.

“Despite everything, the Government is dedicated to agriculture and our farmers’ programmes,” he stressed.

Turning to support for farmers affected by the dry period, Minister Green said that the Ministry, through its Disaster Risk Management Committee, has been responding to needs since January.

“We have already provided resources to some parishes to start the trucking of water to our farmers, who are experiencing drought-like conditions,” he informed.

He said that the National Irrigation Commission (NIC) and RADA will be providing further support in order to ensure that there is no loss of productive capacity.

Distribution of 2,000 handheld irrigation systems to farmers will start in March.

The National Irrigation Commission (NIC) solar retrofitted Ebony Park irrigation system will self-generate 75 per cent of the required energy for the pump station, resulting in a 43 per cent or $4.8-million annual reduction in operational costs for its service to 172 farmers in the area.

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