JIS News

Farmers in and around Knockpatrick district, Manchester were the beneficiaries of an open day hosted by the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), and Alumina Partners of Jamaica (ALPART), at the Sam Motto Goat and Sheep Demonstration and Training Centre, on Thursday (Nov. 23). The scores of farmers and other invited persons toured the facility and viewed displays by CARDI, which included, drip irrigation methods; upgraded farm stock; and vegetables and cash crops being produced on mined-out lands.
Minister of Agriculture and Lands, Roger Clarke, in his address to the gathering, said that “today we are witnessing a grand occasion”.
Mr. Clarke noted that as the premier agricultural research and development organization in the Caribbean, CARDI had, since its inception in 1975, made a significant impact on regional agriculture through the generation and transfer of appropriate technologies in crops and livestock production.
He pointed out also that ALPART, “sees itself as a company existing in harmony with its environment and neighbours especially in the area of agriculture, and what we are seeing here today, tells us that on reclaimed lands a certain level of agricultural activity can occur.this is really a truly integrated operation in terms of rearing animals, and the refuse from them being used as fertilizer and growing other crops”. Minister Clarke said the training Centre “is extremely important because . they [the farmers] will know how to deal with disease control, feeding systems, housing systems and everything that has to do with proper management of small ruminants”.
He expressed satisfaction with the number of farmers that had turned out for the event, which he said would enable them “to be more focused on what we are about. New people come in and see what’s happening here, and it encourages them to go out and do their own thing”. Meanwhile, Land Manager at ALPART, Dr. Frank Ross said the purpose of the open day was to “highlight to community members, members of ALPART management and government agencies . the work that is being done here at the Sam Motto Goat and Sheep Demonstration and Training Centre, over the past six years”. He explained that the centre worked with both small ruminant livestock and crops. “Here we have improved beef breeds, such as the Boer goat and the . Alpine, which is a dairy breed. We demonstrate improved methods of nutrition, waste management, and animal husbandry in general,” he continued.
Dr. Ross added that the Centre also “does a lot of work with crops on the reclaimed lands . we are looking at a number of herbs and vegetables, and showing culture practices which can be utilized effectively on reclaimed bauxite mined-out lands,” he informed.
Goat farmer, Audrey Nelson, said she was pleased with the activities. “I think the open day is a marvelous thing. We have learnt so much in such a limited time. I think they should do it more often” she said.
The CARDI/ALPART agricultural demonstration and training institution represents a major community development project located in the bauxite company’s mining operations area. The day partly organised as a publicity and information programme for the media, the community, agricultural agencies, farmers and schools, demonstrated the progress made by the Centre since it was opened in 1999.
More than 2,500 farmers, students and householders have benefited from training programmes and dissemination of information at the Sam Motto Goat and Sheep Demonstration and Training Centre.