JIS News

The newly upgraded Hounslow irrigation system in St. Elizabeth was re-commissioned into service, yesterday (July 11), by Prime Minister Bruce Golding.
Some 2,000 farmers are expected to receive a regular supply of irrigated water from the system.
Addressing the many farmers and other residents who attended the ceremony, the Prime Minister said that as the water supply improves, farmers would have to use the commodity much more efficiently.
“This event is being held at a critical time when we have to guide the changing face of agriculture, and in looking at how we are going to structure agriculture, we must take into consideration the issue of water, and where nature can’t provide sufficient water, human intervention will have to provide it,” the Prime Minister said.
“Each farmer is charged 20 per cent of what the Jamaica Public Service is paid for the electricity to produce irrigated water, and as you increase production, you must improve the efficiency in how you use that water, because the 80 per cent paid by the tax payers needs to be properly accounted for,” Mr. Golding said.
The Prime Minister emphasised that the administration is determined to make available new agricultural technologies to the farming community, in the quest to raise production to a level where the country could feed itself, and export to other countries.
“The only way out of the international food crisis is to have our farmers embrace new ways of producing crops, and as a Government we are leading that move, where we can grow enough to feed ourselves and sell abroad,” Mr. Golding said. “Much of that $50 billion we spend each year to import food can go to our local farmers to educate their children and provide jobs for our people. We have the land, but what is needed is more people to see agriculture as a viable profession, and as consumers we need to first look at what we have before we look elsewhere,” the Prime Minister added.

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