JIS News

Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) Parish Manager for Portland, Mr. Ridley BadreSingh, is expressing satisfaction with the agency’s impact on agriculture in the parish over the years.
He was speaking to JIS News at a ‘Farmers Appreciation Day’ on Friday (September 24) at the RADA parish office at Folly Road, Port Antonio. The event was part of activities across the island to mark the agency’s 20th anniversary.
Mr. BadreSingh said that over the two decades, RADA has extended its reach to the farming community through services such as farmer registration, land preparation, extension, land husbandry and marketing services.
He said that the Portland parish office has successfully registered more than 7,000 farmers in the Agriculture Business Information System, which is a database used for marketing purposes, as well as to provide useful information to assist government in planning programmes and policies to assist the sector. The information contained in the database also better enables RADA in delivering services to farmers.
Pointing to other achievements, the Parish Manager informed that a low cost, tractor service is now available to assist farmers in land preparation.
In addition, there has been an increase in the number of extension officers assigned to the office from four to six; the establishment of more than 50 Production Marketing Organisations (PMOs); and the acquisition of land husbandry, livestock, and marketing officers for the parish.
He said that with the availability of these additional services, there have been “incremental increases” in crop and livestock production in Portland.
Mr. BadreSingh is urging farmers to make use of the technical services available through the agency, and to apply best practices to ensure maximum yield from crop production. “Agriculture has changed drastically and the old methods are not productive enough to keep abreast with current trends,” he stated.
Member of Parliament for East Portland, Dr. Donald Rhodd, congratulated RADA on its positive impact on agricultural production in the parish, noting that there has been “a renewed energy” in the agency’s effort to reach out to farmers.
Dr. Rhodd said he would like to see farmers become more technologically aware so that they can be “at the cutting edge of knowledge and information, as with these, they can produce so much more.”
“Let us re-image agriculture in our learning institutions, so that it becomes a career of choice for persons wanting to feed our nation,” he stated.
Mr. Percival McLarty, a greenhouse farmer from Cascade, told JIS News that he has been using the technology for the past three years and has received “very valuable” advice from RADA.
Mr. McLarty, who supplies establishments in Kingston said “agriculture is worth the while, once you commit yourself, the reward is there to reap”.
Scores of farmers in the parish turned out for the ‘Farmers’ Appreciation Day’, where they were presented with various gifts from RADA, and treated to live entertainment by a local band.
Other agencies participating in the day’s activities were: the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE), the Forestry Department, the Social Development Commission, business establishments, and financial institutions.
RADA was established in August, 1990 and is Jamaica’s chief agricultural extension and rural development agency.
It aims to enhance the development of farming through effective and sustainable extension service by providing technical advice to farmers, and offering a reliable agricultural marketing information service.