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  • Beginning next month, 26 extension officers from the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) will be trained in greenhouse production techniques.
  • The move comes as the agency boosts competence in various areas to meet the needs of the country’s farmers, and remain up-to-date with best practices.
  • RADA’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Lenworth Fulton, said the training will ensure that each parish will have at least three officers, who are equipped to assist farmers in increasing greenhouse production.

Beginning next month, 26 extension officers from the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) will be trained in greenhouse production techniques.

The move comes as the agency boosts competence in various areas to meet the needs of the country’s farmers, and remain up-to-date with best practices.

RADA’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Lenworth Fulton, said the training will ensure that each parish will have at least three officers, who are equipped to assist farmers in increasing greenhouse production.

Mr. Fulton said RADA is also looking to train at least one land husbandry officer per parish “and, we are continuing training in the livestock area, to bring (that area) up to speed, because we are focused more on crops, which is a bias that is not healthy.”

The RADA CEO was speaking at a function held today (January 16), at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries’ Veterinary Services Division, where the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) handed over land husbandry training manuals and extension kits to the authority.

He said the Best Land Husbandry Practices and Climate Smart Agriculture Manuals will assist RADA with implementing and streamlining programmes.

“It will also be used to see how best we can improve not only productivity in agriculture, but the consistency with which we will be able to deliver the supplies to our people, hotels and supermarkets,” he said, while thanking the FAO for the intervention.

FAO representative in Jamaica, Dr. Jerome Thomas, said his organisation is focused on developing, protecting, and restoring sustainable livelihoods, so that the integrity of societies that depend on farming, livestock, fish, forest and other natural resources is not threatened by disasters.

He noted that the implementation of best practices provided by the FAO to extension officers will reduce the effects of natural disasters and enable a speedy recovery for farmers.

The provision of the manuals and extension kits, falls under the FAO’s ‘Support and Capacity Building to Extension Officers and Farmers on Land Husbandry Practices and Methodologies for Reducing the Impact of Disasters on Small Farmers Holding’ project.

The initiative was implemented as part of an emergency recovery project to assist farmers, who were severely impacted by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. It was carried out in two phases through funding of US$300,000 from the Belgian Government.

A total of 1,001 farmers from Leith Hall and Font Hill in St. Thomas, and Reach District in Portland, benefitted from cash vouchers, and 1, 032 farmers were trained.

 

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