Chief Technical Director in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Dr. Marc Panton, launched a $10 million USAID financed small grants programme, in Braco, Trelawny on Wednesday, October 27.
The programme is aimed at assisting farmers to boost production in selected crops, which should also boost their income.
Seventeen Farmer’s groups, involving 400 individual farmers in six parishes, are to benefit under the grant programme, through which Braco’s Production and Marketing Organization (PMO) will be presented with planting material, equipment and technical assistance to the value of approximately $1 million. The selected crops under the program are onions and Scotch Bonnet Pepper.
Chief Technical Director in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Dr.
Marc Panton (right) presenting members of the Braco Production and Marketing
Organization (PMO) – President, Winston Kellyghan (left) and
Secretary/Treasurer, Sheryl Binns (second left) – with an Onion Seed Planter
machine and Scotch Bonnett Pepper seedlings, at the launch of the USAID $10
million small grant project for Farmers groups, in Braco, Trelawny on
Wednesday, October 27.
Approximately 20 farmers, who make up the Braco PMO, stand to benefit under this project in which the USAID, through its Marketing and Agriculture for Jamaica Improved Competitiveness (MAJIC) grant programme, will provide technical and economic assistance to the Ministry towards achieving its goal of increasing the volume and value of Jamaica’s agricultural produce.
Dr. Panton also presented the Braco PMO with a number of Scotch Bonnet Pepper seedlings and an onion seed planter machine.
Addressing the gathering held on an agricultural plot in Braco, Deputy Parish Manager with RADA Trelawny, Mervin Green, described the occasion as a very important one in the parish, as there is a move on by his organization, to improve the level of onion production within the parish.
He said some eight hectares of the crop was established in the parish last year, with plans to improve to approximately 20 hectares this year, with the assistance of the programme.
Senior Field Representative with the USAID/MAJIC programme, Dean Passard,
demonstrating the Onion Seed Planter machine to farmers of the Braco PMO at
a recent handing over of the machine and other planting material to the
group on Wednesday October 27.
He urged the farmers involved in the project to fully utilize all information passed on to them through the programme to the best of their ability, adding that the technical knowledge should assist them in better utilizing planting material received.
“We know that you will have follow up visits through the (RADA) extension officer in order for you to carry through, but in the mean time we want for you to take close note of what is being presented here today”, he stated.
Dr. Panton in his address pointed out that the MOAF takes the matter of developing and building of the capacity of the country’s farmers as one of its primary objectives. He pointed out that part of the development process for the farmers involves the adoption of technology.
He said that the ultimate aim must be for agricultural exploits to be economically viable enterprises and, in so doing, for the farmers to make money.
“It is a very proud profession, now what we need to do is match the pride with the dollars”, he stated.
He noted that to create wealth from agriculture, farmers must take advantage of every available bit of information and training, with a view to increasing their level of efficiency and productivity, so that less input is used to produce greater output.