JIS News

The Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), officially launched a Hydroponics project, at the Knockalva Agricultural School in Ramble, Hanover, on Wednesday (September 17).
Hydroponics is an old agricultural technique, which involves the growing of plants directly in water, but has evolved into the production of plants without the use of soil as the growing medium. Plants are fed a constant balanced supply of essential nutrient elements, dissolved in a watery solution.
According to information out of RADA, the concept fits squarely with the Government’s drive to encourage Jamaican householders to contain their food bills, by growing some of what they eat and eating more of what they grow.
Representative of the FAO in Jamaica, Belize and the Bahamas, Dr. Dunstan Campbell, in addressing the launch of the project, explained that the project forms part of his organization’s support for the Government’s School Garden Programme. He said that the FAO has bought into that programme, which would increase the options for the production of vegetables within limited land space, and also by extension the idea of backyard gardening.
“So, what we are doing is providing several options, and here we have before us, the grow box which can be placed under a covered area and produce your vegetables. We are also now introducing popular Hydroponics, which is a very simple low-tech way of producing vegetables, using a water and fertilizer combination,” he said.
Dr. Campbell expressed the hope that these techniques, together with the rearing of small ruminants and poultry, would offer a package of options for the operation of school gardens, and also to families and communities for a wider selection for food consumption.
He told JIS News that the Hydroponics project is being instituted in collaboration with RADA and the Ministry of Education in three schools, with the FAO contributing approximately US$10,000 towards the programme. He said that in a short time, another 11 schools would be brought on board with similar projects.
Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Christopher Tufton, who was on hand for the launching of the programme, made a presentation on behalf of RADA, of a set of books and a cheque for $150,000 to the Knockalva Agricultural School.
He expressed the hope that the books would help the students of the institution, in guiding their minds in terms of some of the best practices in agriculture. He also gave a commitment for an additional $150,000.