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    The extension service provided by the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) has been boosted with the addition of 40 extension officers over the past two weeks.
    Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Christopher Tufton, speaking at the National Accountability Seminar held at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston on March 16, said that the increase in numbers has “put RADA in a position where its extension service has been increased by 100 per cent (compared) to the previous year.”
    “Now that we have brought the ratio down between extension officers and farmers, we are putting in place a system that will allow our extension officers to go through appropriate levels of training,” he stated.
    Dr. Tufton said that the increase in extension officers is in keeping with the Ministry’s aim of expanding the role of RADA to drive development within the agriculture sector.
    “RADA becomes now, more than just an extension of our general plant husbandry. We are going to have animal health technicians”, he said, noting that focus will also be placed on marketing in terms of “identifying end users, tracking end user demand, and trying to influence primary production and processing by linking these to what the end users in the marketplace require.”
    The seminar sought to highlight the contribution of the Inter-American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture (IICA) to the development of agriculture and rural communities.
    Minister Tufton commended IICA for its role as a stakeholder in the agriculture sector and called for more collaborative activities between the Institute and the Ministry.

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