MANDEVILLE — As part of ongoing efforts to cushion the effects of the temporary cessation in bauxite mining, mining company Alpart, and its community council is providing $3 million in agricultural assistance to farmers in St. Elizabeth.
At the handing over ceremony held on April 18, at the Alpart Sport Club, in Nain, in the parish, the farmers received 450 vouchers valued at $2.7 million, from Alpart, while the Alpart Community Council gave 45 spray pumps valued at $300,000.
“The Council has decided to implement a revolving spray pump system in our communities. The pumps will be available to all bonafide farmers in their respective communities and will be used on a scheduled basis,” explained Administrator of the Alpart Community Council, Camilla Blake.
“For example, if there are 20 farmers in Nain, all these farmers will have access to the pumps… logistics in terms of who get the pumps when and for how long will be worked out and managed by our representatives. This programme will complement Alpart’s stimulus programme, and agricultural development is critical in safeguarding our ability to feed ourselves,” Miss Blake added.
Guest speaker at the ceremony and Chief Technical Director at the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Marc Panton, said he was pleased with the work of the Community Council, and the spirit of the residents. He said the donations will further boost their effort to engage in best practices.
“What we see is a community willing to volunteer, give their time, work together and drive their own development. It says there is opportunity to develop, to grow and to increase your efficiency and become better farmers,” Dr. Panton stated.
By GARFIELD L. ANGUS, JIS REGIONAL OFFICE