JIS News

A sum of $245.8 million has been allocated to the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), in the 2008/09 Estimates of Expenditure.
This money is to be used to undertake activities under that body’s agricultural extension service for Domestic Food Crop and Tree Crop Programmes, and for grants for Crop Production and Extension, Forestry, and Rural Development.
The agricultural extension service is facilitated by the activities of RADA’s extension officers and allows for the granting of subsidies to small farmers in the form of seeds, seedlings, pesticides, tools, equipment, farmhouses, and water tanks. Training is also undertaken. These provisions and subsidies will assist in increasing productivity and improving the standard of living of farmers. Grants given to RADA are supplemented by the income generated from some of these projects.
The Domestic Food Programme, which has been allocated just over $8 million, aims to increase the production and productivity of selected crops for both local and export markets. The focus is on geographic areas that have minimum constraints and distinct competitive advantage for the production of these crops.
A sum of just over $21 million has been set aside as a grant for crop production and extension, which is aimed at establishing a crop care programme. This includes, inter alia, the training of farmers in areas such as crop and livestock production; pest and disease control, and farm irrigation. Farmers will benefit from the distribution of farm inputs, setting up of linkages between producers and buyers and the introduction of the Agricultural Business Information System (ABIS), which will enable the dissemination of agricultural information in a structured way.
The Rural Development Project, which will receive a grant in the form of a $200 million allocation, will facilitate the maintenance of field and parish offices. Meanwhile, the forestry project, which also receives a grant in the form of a $3 million allocation, is geared towards soil conservation in areas of hillside farming to minimize soil loss and environmental degradation.
A $13.6 million allocation has been made to the Tree Crop Programme, the main objectives of which are to increase the availability and diversity of economically viable and nutritionally important fruit tree species, and to encourage the development of the food processing industry through the provision of raw materials.
During 2008/09, the Tree Crop Programme will focus specifically on: conducting training sessions in orchard management and tree crop resuscitation to benefit 800 farmers; resuscitating 1,000 fruit trees; maintaining 225 hectares of established orchards; establishing 12 demonstration plots of 0.4 hectare each, and publishing six technical bulletins in the form of pamphlets/booklets.

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