JIS News

Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Christopher Tufton, has said that a restructured Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), would better serve farmers in the country.
Addressing a Farmers’ Forum at the Gray’s Inn Sports Club in Annotto Bay, St. Mary on June 25, Dr. Tufton said the new RADA structure would have 200 additional staff, including marketing and livestock officers to ensure that proper marketing arrangements are made for farmers and appropriate guidance is provided in respect of animal husbandry.
He pointed out that the extension department would also be expanded as part of the re-organization, to give better service to farmers.
The Minister said that the reduction of extension staff employed by RADA over the years, along with the failure to identify markets for farmers, had impacted negatively on the farming sector. He said the re-organization would be carried out in keeping with government’s policy to provide the farmers with the assistance they need to enable them to continue to contribute significantly to community and national development.
Dr. Tufton explained that the Registration Programme was another initiative being taken to serve the interest of farmers.
He pointed out that the registration of farmers would be critical to the success of the improvements the government would be carrying out in the agricultural sector, as the programme would enable the Ministry and RADA to have information relating to areas in which they farm, the crops they produce and the type of planning needed in their areas to enable them to be successful farmers.
Dr. Tufton said government has been very clear in carrying the message that as a nation, “we need to produce more of the food we eat and lessen our dependence on foreign farmers to produce food for our people.”
With this in mind, he said government has developed a medium and long term plan to build the agricultural sector, and a short term programme to convince Jamaicans to eat less foreign food and consume more local products.

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