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  • Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson, says all support to farmers will now be channeled through the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), instead of through political representatives.
  • He is encouraging farmers across the island to immediately take steps to ensure that they are registered with RADA and with recognised groups.
  • The Minister said the 50-member group should be better able to negotiate for prices on inputs, coordinate their marketing and work together to protect their produce from praedial larceny.

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson, says all support to farmers will now be channelled through the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), instead of through political representatives.

Addressing the inaugural general meeting of the Tryall Action Group/Diaspora Benevolent Society at the Ballard’s Valley Community Church of God in St. Elizabeth on June 29, Mr.  Hutchinson also pointed out that the assistance will be given to the farmers through their respective registered groups and not on an individual basis.

He explained that the change will ensure more accountability with the RADA representatives now tasked with ensuring that distributions take place fairly among the farmers.

“We are going to be sending through RADA, inputs to be collected by farmers and it must come through an organisation. As of now, we are going to be sending funds from RADA to the genuine farming organisations,” the Minister added.

He is encouraging farmers across the island to immediately take steps to ensure that they are registered with RADA and with recognised groups.

In the meantime, Mr. Hutchinson said the Government remains unrelenting in its effort to ensure that farmers are protected from the three greatest impediments to production – lack of water, praedial larceny and crop markets.

The Minister said he is putting plans in place to assist farmers in St. Elizabeth to start producing at levels which had the parish as the leading agricultural producer for years.

He said emphasis will be placed on the setting up of facilities in the parish to have farmers benefit from value-added agriculture, through the establishment of an agro-economic zone.

“It is a complex where all produce can be taken for grading, packaging, processing, cold storage and drying facilities. Grade A crop will be for the export trade and the hotel; the B grade goes to the local market and the C Grade will be processed into juice and purée, and the trash made into fertilizer,” Mr. Hutchinson noted.

He congratulated members of the Tryall Action Group/Diaspora Benevolent Society on the formalisation of the organisation, adding that they now have the power to negotiate, which should benefit the farmers.

The Minister said the 50-member group should be better able to negotiate for prices on inputs, coordinate their marketing and work together to protect their produce from praedial larceny.