JIS News

Prime Minister, Portia Simpson-Miller on (June 28) officially commissioned into operation the Pedro Plains Irrigation System, which will benefit scores of farmers in South St. Elizabeth.
In delivering the keynote address, Mrs. Simpson-Miller noted that the irrigation system will address the needs of farmers in Pedro Plains, Little Park and Beacon. “Today is your day. for everyone wishing to put land into productive use water is essential as water is life,” she noted.
According to the Prime Minister, the commissioning of a project to benefit farming communities fits into her vision for rural development. “The Minister of Agriculture understands my passion and my vision for community development for if we are serious about this, then we have to deal with rural development and if so, then proper irrigation must be a part of the programme,” she stated.
“Just as we have placed a lot of emphasis on the development of our cities and urban centres, the time has come when we should be placing the same emphasis and giving priority to rural development and that is why I had a meeting with the Urban Development Corporation’s (UDC) board and I told them that they would have to find a way to deal with rural development as well,” she informed.
In the meantime, she noted that the Pedro Plains project marked the beginning of things to come, as there are many other initiatives on the drawing board, which will impact in a significant way on the country’s farmers.
“The Minister of Agriculture will at some time tell you more about these projects about which I have had much discussion about some of the ideas that I would love to see implemented across the country, as we recognise that you are not only feeding us but you are also feeding our visitors, and I want to thank you for your contribution to national develop and to export,” the Prime Minister stated.
The Pedro Plains Irrigation System is the first flagship project to be delivered under the government’s National Irrigation Development Master Plan (NIDP), which is being piloted by the National Irrigation Commission (NIC), with a view to increase farmer participation in the agricultural sector.
The project complements the government’s long-term agricultural development strategy up to the year 2015, by which time it is projected that some 6, 900 farming families would have benefited directly from three major flagship projects being undertaken by the NIC and its partners in various sections of the island.

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