The rehabilitation of farm roads will continue in designated areas over the next few months under the Hurricane Gustav Agricultural Rehabilitation Project.
A sum of $22 million has been provided by the Government in the 2012/13 Estimates of Expenditure to carry out this and other project activities, including providing key inputs to improve productivity of targeted crops and to rehabilitate the coffee sector.
Under the project, assistance will be provided to 1,978 farmers through the establishment of an additional 835 hectares of nine specific crops; rehabilitation of 74 to 100 kilometers (km) of rural roads across Jamaica; and provision of fertilizer and seedlings to 342 small and medium-sized farmers to establish 34.4 hectares of Blue Mountain and other coffee.
Up to March 2012, under the road rehabilitation segment of the project, work was tendered and nine contracts were awarded for 48.32 km of farm roads. For the production and productivity component, 1,069 hectares of selected crops were established by 3,796 farmers; and approximately 14,571 tonnes of crops with an estimated value of $1.247 billion were produced by participating farmers.
As it relates to coffee rehabilitation, 1,500 bags of fertilizer were procured and distributed to coffee farmers; while 85,000 coffee seedlings were procured and distributed.
The project, which is being funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) got underway in November 2008, and after several extensions, is scheduled to end in September.
By Alecia Smith-Edwards, JIS Reporter