Technical Services Directorate Gets $365.5 Million


The Technical Services Directorate in the Ministry of Agriculture has received a $356.5 million allocation in the 2008/09 Estimates of Expenditure.
The Directorate is responsible for directing and co-ordinating the activities of the Ministry’s technical division. This include: Research and Development, Veterinary Services, Fisheries, Zoos and Gardens, and the Forestry Department.
Provisions from the budgetary allocation have been made to plant quarantine and produce inspection, forestry and wildlife, fisheries, research and development, and veterinary services.
A sum of $16.9 million has been set aside for plant quarantine and produce inspection, which will be used primarily to fund the maintenance of the export facilities at the Donald Sangster and Norman Manley International Airports. Additionally, the provision will be used to construct additional warehouse space to handle cargo, install new condensing units in Kingston, and a new cold room and ambient storage facilities in Montego Bay, as well as install appropriate security systems, and effect general upgrading of the facilities.
The forestry and wildlife sub-programme has been allocated $16.8 million, of which $6.8 million will go towards the maintenance of gardens, and $10 million to forest development and management. The garden maintenance programme provision will be used to fund the restoration of Holland Bamboo in St. Elizabeth, and to effect repairs to the facilities at the Castleton, Bath, Hope, and Cinchona Botanical Gardens.
The allocation to the forest development and management programme is to facilitate the transformation process of the Forestry Department into an Executive Agency. The provision will be used, specifically, to purchase motorcycles to improve patrolling and security of forests, increase available office space, increase nurseries to keep pace with increased demand for seedlings, and to rehabilitate vital sections of forest roads to ensure proper and timely development and management activities, and to regulate the movement of people and forest produce.
A sum of $188 million has been provided for Fisheries, to undertake development of offshore and inland fishing as well as the CARICOM Fisheries Resource and Management Programme.
Offshore fishing development, which has been allocated $150 million, aims to develop and manage the fishing industry, through the promotion and implementation of sustainable fisheries management practices.
A sum of $23.2 million has been set aside for inland fishing development, which focuses on aquaculture training for fish farmers and staff at the aquaculture unit; conducting experiments into the growth and nutrition of tilapia, and conducting research into propagation and production of ornamental fish. The CARICOM Fisheries Resource Assessment and Management Programme, has been allocated $12.8 million. The primary objective of this project is to promote the management and conservation of the fishery resources of the CARICOM/Caribbean region and permit the exploitation of these on the basis of sustainable yield. The project will enhance the basic information gathering and institutional capacity necessary to manage and develop fishery resources in the CARICOM region.
A provision of $13.6 million has been set aside for research and development, of which $11.2 million will go to plant protection research, and $2.4 million for phytosanitary research.
The plant protection research project entails research activities into pests and other diseases that affect crops and apiculture, and is divided into two sub-projects. The first, plant protection, for which $6.7 million has been provided, focuses on entomology, nematode control, plant pathology, and weed science. The second sub-project – beekeeping – will receive $4.4 million, and will facilitate the provision of extension services to beekeepers and the monitoring and inspection of apiaries for the American brood disease and the Varroa mite.
The phytosanitary project is aimed at screening high and medium risk plant germplasm obtained for agricultural production or for research purposes in order to prevent the introduction and spread of new pests in Jamaica’s agricultural system. Emphasis will be placed on maintaining a repository for disease-free citrus clones/germplasm produced locally and imported from overseas; screening plant material imported for commercial or research purposes for the presence of pests not known to occur in Jamaica.
A sum of $40 million has been earmarked for the research station management programme, and will provide for the purchase and maintenance of equipment and other facilities at the Bodles, Montpelier and Orange River research stations. Some $10.9 million has been allocated to Bodles; $20.5 million for Montpelier, and $8.9 million for Orange River.

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