The Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), as part of its 20th anniversary celebrations, recently honoured farmers in Manchester for their contribution to the parish’s agricultural sector.
At a Farmers Appreciation Day held recently at the RADA parish office on Caledonia Road in Mandeville, the farmers were treated to food and drink, entertainment from local artistes, while awards were presented for excellent performance.
The award for Most Outstanding Older Female Farmer went to Sheila Baines; Most Outstanding Older Male Farmer, Hubert Bailey; Most Involved Young Female Farmer, Tasha Rodman; and Most Involved Young Male Farmer, Garnett Williams.
Minister of Finance and the Public Service and Member of Parliament for North East Manchester, Hon. Audley Shaw, who addressed the gathering, commended the farmers for the work that they have been doing to ensure food security.
Members of the public view a display of agricultural produce at a Farmers’ Appreciation Bay hosted recently by the Manchester Parish Office of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) at its Caledonia Avenue location in Mandeville.
He pledged the government’s continued support for the growth and development of the sector and commended RADA on its achievements since its inception in 1990.
Deputy Parish Manager, Samuel Harris, in highlighting RADA’s accomplishments over the two decades, said that the agency has worked to promote the development of agriculture as the main engine of economic growth in rural communities, through the delivery of farmer training and the implementation of government projects and programmes.
As it relates to Manchester, he said that 232,000 farmers benefit from extension services, while farming communities, educational institutions, rural women groups, exporters and consumers, are also reached.
The impact of RADA’s efforts in the parish, Mr. Harris said, is evident in the consecutive periods of growth, which was recorded at 22 per cent for 2009.
The Manchester Farmers’ Appreciation Day included displays and demonstrations from the various RADA departments, including the Livestock Unit, on the selection of breeding stock for small ruminant production and how to construct a goat house.
Among agencies mounting exhibits were the Caribbean Agricultural and Development Institute (CARDI); Manchester Cooperative Credit Union; National People’s Cooperative Bank; National Commercial Bank (NCB); Manchester 4H Clubs; Jamaica Standard Products; and the Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC).