RADA Extension Officers to be Doubled


Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture, J.C. Hutchinson, has said that the number of Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) extension officers will be doubled from 60 to 120, to achieve better collaboration between key stake holders in the agricultural industry.
Speaking recently at a forum hosted by the Jamaican Society for Agricultural Sciences (JSAS), at the Bodles Research Centre in St. Catherine, the State Minister said the Government has recognized the need to strengthen the capacity of the extension service, with an emphasis on providing appropriate training for the officers, so that there can be an effective integration of the agricultural process from planning to marketing.
“We are looking for solutions to marketing of produce and for the problem of praedial larceny. Right now, you have 60 officers servicing the entire island, and come the new financial year, we are going to double that number,” Mr. Hutchinson said.
“This will provide for the dissemination of information that is necessary in the areas of research, marketing and just to be updated with the latest agro-technology that can sustain a modern competitive agricultural sector, in which our farmers can prosper and we can feed ourselves as a nation,” the Minister added.
Meanwhile, a message from Senior Adviser to the Minister of Agriculture, and Chairman of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Dr. Omer Thomas, pointed out that the organization would be restructured to take on non-traditional roles, to ensure that technology is transferred to every level of the sector. Read by Marina Young, Senior Plant, Health and Food Safety Specialist at RADA, the message explained that the institution “will be embarking on an urban agricultural production drive, utilizing the various technologies to the backyard, verandah, and balconies in Portmore. RADA will also go back to providing extension and development services to the livestock industry. It is expected that every parish will have at least a minimum of one livestock officer, one veterinary officer, and a marketing officer to augment the marketing and distribution efforts, while eliminating gluts and scarcities.”
The forum was also addressed by several agro business specialists and scientists.

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