MANDEVILLE — More than 500 residents from communities in Central Manchester, which once depended on bauxite, are to benefit from a sustainable agricultural project, which is being funded by the Government of Japan through a grant of $8,876,150.25 (US$103,407).
The project, which is being implemented by the Northern Caribbean University (NCU), involves the setting up of three greenhouses on mined-out bauxite lands, for the production of vegetables and other produce, which will be sold to various markets. The residents will receive training in farming techniques and how to successfully operate the project.
At the signing ceremony held on March 31 at the NCU's Mandeville campus, First Secretary and head of the Economic Affairs and Development Assistance Division at the Embassy of Japan, Tadahiko Yamaguchi, said the project is timely, and will help in revitalising the communities that depended on bauxite operations, which are now closed.
Parish Manager for the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Donald Robinson, said the agency welcomes the project, and pledged support for the venture.
“With this initiative and many others that we have in the parish, our agricultural production will be moving up. Our extension officers for the area will be on board to ensure that the technological support is provided and I am pledging the support of our tractor service and through our trucking service, we will be able to assist in the moving of building material,” he said.
The NCU's entrepreneurial centre will provide general management for the project, while the Social Development Commission (SDC) will offer training, with technical support from RADA.
By GARFIELD L. ANGUS, JIS Reporter