JIS News

Agricultural support to the more than 35,000 registered farmers in St. Elizabeth has been strengthened through the provision of five vehicles to the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) parish office by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.

The $43.7-million investment includes four pickups, which will serve as pool vehicles, and a refrigerated truck to be stationed at the RADA head office, which will be utilised in preserving produce to reduce post-harvest losses.

The acquisition represents an investment by the Ministry in enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of extension services to farmers across the island.

Portfolio Minister, Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr. said the Ministry, as part of its food security mandate, intends to increase its inventory of vehicles.

“We will also increase equipment to bolster production and other activities along the value chain and sustainably reduce food losses and waste in Jamaica. We are very happy to be handing over these motor vehicles to the RADA to facilitate improved delivery of extension services to our farmers,” he said. He was speaking at the recent handover ceremony at the Ministry’s Hope Gardens headquarters in Kingston.

Meanwhile, the more than 23 RADA extension officers in St. Elizabeth will directly benefit from the acquisition of the vehicles. RADA Parish Agriculture Manager for St. Elizabeth, Nathan Samuels, said that the vehicles will better enable the 23 extension officers to serve the parish’s farmers.

He noted that the St. Elizabeth RADA office has the largest number of extension staff outside of the corporate office in Kingston. “There are 14 extension areas in the parish. We have over 23 extension personnel, which includes our livestock officer, marketing officer and social services and home economics officer,” he pointed out.

“The vehicles are greatly appreciated because most of our officers have motor cars. Because of the terrain of the parish, most communities are not reachable with their cars, so from time to time they will request the use of the pool vehicle to move them around and to assist them with the execution of their duties,” Mr. Samuels pointed out.

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