RADA in Full Support of Agricultural Census

Director of Production, Marketing and Special Projects at the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Harold Spaulding, has said that the organization was in full support of the 2007 Census of Agriculture.
He told JIS News that the information to be collected by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) was very important to his organization.
“We have to plan projects and programmes that will impact the lives of farmers in terms of production, productivity, and their ability to earn and live a good standard of life from what they do…therefore you can properly plan for a population if you have a pool of information to make relevant decisions,” he pointed out.
He said previous censuses have been beneficial in ventures such as the fruit tree crop project, with data provided on the fruit tree population on the island as well as farmers, who were involved in the production of such crops.
Meanwhile, he indicated that RADA would be involved in the census, through the deployment of officers across the island to assist in the data collection exercise.
The survey, which is conducted every 10 years, got underway this month under the theme: ‘Taking Stock of Agriculture’.
The process will involve some 477 personnel interviewing farmers across the island, with the aim of gathering data on the number of farms in each parish, the size of holdings, types of tenure, crops cultivated, and production output.
Upon completion in July, the information will be used for agricultural policy planning, project implementation, and monitoring of the sector.
From the last census which was conducted in 1996, it was found that the island had some 188,000 farms, and just over 400,000 hectares of land was being utilized as both large and small scale farms, with the parishes of St. Elizabeth and Clarendon accounting for most of these.

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