JIS News

Minister of State for Agriculture, William J.C. Hutchinson, has refuted claims that officers of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) are selling Hurricane Dean relief fertilizer, which is meant to be distributed to farmers.
In an interview with JIS News, Mr. Hutchinson said that there was “no evidence whatsoever to suggest that any RADA officer across the island has been selling fertilizer to anyone.”
He noted that the RADA parish office in St. Elizabeth was recently vandalized by persons, who “have gone into their respective communities selling the fertilizer to other individuals.”
He said that there are also allegations in Trelawny and St. Ann that some of the affected farmers are not being fairly treated and as such “they [farmers] felt that some organizations were being left out of the process. It was also felt that the extension officers in some instances were giving fertilizers to only persons who were registered with RADA.”
Mr. Hutchinson however stressed that the fertilizer is to be distributed to all farmers who were affected by the hurricane. “As long as you were affected by the hurricane you should be assisted,” he explained. Continuing, he reported that disbursement of the commodity had resumed in St. Ann and Trelawny following the agreement on a distribution system by all parties involved.
Meanwhile, the State Minister noted that the disbursement of fertilizer in St. Elizabeth was suspended as a result of the threat on the lives of RADA officers and vandalism of the office and as such, there was a need to “close down the distribution.”
No arrests have been made for the threat on the life of the RADA workers or vandalism of the compound, however, delivery of the product resumed on Wednesday (Oct. 3) and will now be done from five stores throughout the parish.
“Nothing will be distributed from the RADA office in Santa Cruz,” he explained. Instead, farmers can receive supplies of fertilizer from the Ranking Farm Stores in Ginger Hill; PJ’s Distributor in Santa Cruz; Morgan’s Farm Store in New Market; Carib Grow Agricultural Farm Store in Black River; and S and M Supermarket in Ballard’s Valley.
“RADA will send a list to the various farm stores and only those persons whose names are on the list will get fertilizer,” the Agriculture State Minister said.