JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier, has lauded the work of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.
  • Mr. Kellier said RADA, which is an arm of the Ministry, has become synonymous with not just the provision of extension services to farmers, but in leading the way in the use of technology in the sector.
  • Mr. Kellier added that RADA’s work with the island’s farmers ensured that there was a 0.5 per cent increase in production in the sector for the April to June 2015 quarter.

Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier, has lauded the work of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

Speaking at the official opening of the new Trelawny parish office of RADA at Hague, near Falmouth, on October 1, Mr. Kellier said RADA, which is an arm of the Ministry, has become synonymous with not just the provision of extension services to farmers, but in leading the way in the use of technology in the sector.

“In spite of the challenges, RADA has performed creditably over these 25 years in the execution of its services to the 230,000 farmers islandwide. Not only has RADA provided extension services to the farmers, but they have also provided reliable agricultural marketing information to the various stakeholders, thus facilitating the government’s quest towards achieving national economic growth and stability in the agricultural sector,” the Minister said.

Mr. Kellier added that RADA’s work with the island’s farmers ensured that there was a 0.5 per cent increase in production in the sector for the April to June 2015 quarter, which was achieved amidst trying circumstances, including an extended drought.

The Minister pointed out that as part of the effort to reach as many farmers as possible, RADA’s complement of Extension Officers has been increased from 60 to 98, and there is on-going training and recertification of staff in advanced Farmer Field Schools and Train the Trainers programmes.

On RADA’s services in Trelawny, Mr. Kellier said the parish has done extremely well in most areas of production, especially  yam, with production of  over 52.5 million kilogrammes  in 2014.

“Trelawny is also making significant strides in the export industry and is now the largest exporter of papayas with Valley Fruit, Advance Farms and Good Hope Farms being the major players in the industry. Last year the export of papayas was some 2.14 million kilogrammes, and so far this year some 1.98 million kilogrammes have been exported,” the Minister noted.

Mr. Kellier said that even with those achievements, farmers should evaluate their progress and set new targets as they strive to take the sector to even greater heights.

He also called on RADA to develop greater collaboration with the Ministry’s Research Division, with a view to identifying and introducing new drought resistant crops to farmers, which will ensure that there is sustainability in the sector.