JIS News

Farmers of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) are to benefit from farming equipment valued at some $12.6 million under a Tractor Tillage Project financed by the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ).The equipment was handed over at a ceremony on Tuesday (March 2) at the Denbigh Agricultural Showground in Clarendon.
In speaking at the handing over ceremony, Minister of Agriculture, Roger Clarke explained that under the project, farmers would receive six tractors, six harrows, six ploughs and six furrows.
He said that the project was part of several initiatives by the Ministry of Agriculture to improve the sector including the establishment of the Cocoa Rehabilitation Programme and a Central Marketing System through the JAS.
“We believe that with all the problems and the vicissitudes that the agricultural sector has faced over time, we’re at a point in time now where we are ready to take off. We are committed to making agriculture grow and agriculture must grow if we’re going to have sustainable rural development,” he said.
He said that the expansion of the project would be dependent on proper management, through the collaborative effort of the JAS, and the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), as well as oversight by the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ).
Senator Norman Grant President of the JAS, in his remarks, said that the assignment of tractors to the various farmers would be the responsibility of the JAS Parish Officer in consultation with a Parish Tractor Tillage Pool Committee comprised of representatives of the JAS, RADA and farmers.He mentioned further that farmers would be able to access the tractors at a subsidized rate and by calling the various offices of the JAS.
Senator Grant also told JIS News that one tractor had already been deployed in Portland where some 7.6 hectares (19 acres) of land had already been ploughed.He added that the JAS was committed to ensuring that farmers utilized the services of the Tractor Tillage Programme in an effective way to mechanize agriculture, drive down the unit cost of production and make farming more competitive in Jamaica.