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Story Highlights

  • RADA has launched a competition aimed at enhancing the agency’s services to farmers
  • Some $1 million is up for grabs in the contest
  • The RADA offices will be assessed in a number of areas

The Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) has launched a competition among its 13 parish offices aimed at enhancing the agency’s services to farmers island-wide, and contributing to increased agricultural production.

Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Roger Clarke officially launched the project on Wednesday, September 11, at his Hope Gardens offices in St. Andrew.

Some $1 million is up for grabs in the contest, which got underway in August, and is being held over 12 months concluding in July 2014. The objective is to engage staff in efforts that will boost and enhance service delivery; strengthen parish leadership and team work in areas that will positively impact staff and, by extension, production and productivity in the sector.

The RADA offices will be assessed in a number of areas. These include crop production; marketing plans; market-driven production; project and livestock development; formation and strengthening of farmers groups, with emphasis on incorporating women and youth; farmer registration and verification; and agricultural disaster risk management initiatives.

Each parish office is expected to write and implement at least two viable projects capable of generating income totaling at least $500,000 or strengthen the capacities of existing initiatives.

The winning parish will receive $500,000 and the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries trophy, while the second place parish will land the $250,000 runner-up prize.  A prize of $250,000 will also be awarded to the parish deemed to have topped all competition categories.

The top two parishes will present their projects during the 2014 staging of the Denbigh Agricultural, Food and Industrial Trade Show, in May Pen, Clarendon.

Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Roger Clarke, in launching the competition, said he “wholeheartedly” endorsed the initiative. He pointed out that the competition’s goals and objectives “are things that are practical and…can be done.”

“Whatever we do to improve their (RADA) efficiency (and) to challenge them to reach that higher level, is something that is welcomed. This morning’s exercise is just a first step (in this regard),” the Minister said.

In his remarks, RADA Board Chairman, Dr. Densil Williams, noted that the competition is geared towards assisting to boost agricultural outputs, while strengthening the agency’s role to this end.

“We are of the view that if we are going to move the sector and RADA forward, there has to be some element of competition among the stakeholders. I am of the firm view that at the end of it all, what you will see is a stronger and better RADA and (sector) going forward,” Dr. Williams said.