JIS News

Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Christopher Tufton, has announced that $15 million has been allocated by his Ministry, for the extensive refurbishing of the Wait-a-bit multi-purpose building located in southern Trelawny.
Addressing a group of farmers in the community during a tour of sections of the yam-producing parish on September 3, Dr. Tufton said that the allocation was part of the Government’s initiative to enhance the productivity and marketing of yams, and other agricultural produce in the parish.
“Based on the recognition that this area is an important contributor to food production in the country, we have committed, based on estimates that have been done already, $15 million to restore this facility into a proper packaging facility for the farmers of this area. The procedures of tender and to locate a contractor for the project, will now be pursued in earnest. I am anticipating that work on this project will commence within the next few months, and that within six months or so, we should have a completed facility to enhance yam production and marketing,” Dr. Tufton told farmers.
The Minister of Agriculture observed that management of the facility was going to be very critical for its effectiveness and sustainability, and urged farmers to organize themselves in a type of partnership with government in order for the initiative to work.
“The management of the facility is going to be absolutely critical . you, the farmers, must now organise yourselves and put in place the necessary management, so that the facility can add value to your hardworking efforts here in this area … farmers must seek to follow through on your commitments to the rules to be established for the facility to work and work properly,” Dr. Tufton urged.
He pointed out that government was committed to ensuring that farmers benefit from agricultural production, which will eventually see communities benefiting economically from these activities.
“As government, we want to help you in the South Trelawny areas to develop your capacity and ability to produce more and to sell what you produce, so that you can earn maximum from your efforts,” the Agriculture Minister told farmers.
The Wait-a-Bit multi-purpose building, which was originally built for strawberry, and which has been closed for more than 20 years, is expected to be divested to private sector interests, including local farmers. The facility, when fully refurbished, will operate as a central buying station for yams from farmers in the surrounding communities across southern Trelawny.