The Government will be implementing a $30 million drought mitigation project for farmers across the island next week, with the input of various agencies and stakeholders.
According to Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Mr. Donovan Stanberry, the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) is currently listing the needs of the parishes, in collaboration with the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), farmers and political representatives.
“I want the farmers to be aware, and to work closely with RADA,” Mr. Stanberry said.
The Permanent Secretary was delivering the keynote address at the 119th Annual General Meeting of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), held at the Denbigh Showground in May Pen, Clarendon, on July 9.
Mr. Stanberry pointed out that the irrigation schemes which the Government has implemented across the island at a cost of $4 billion, have lessened the drought effects.
“It would have been much worse if the Government had not put in a number of irrigation schemes all over Jamaica. That has cushioned the effect of the drought, and those irrigation systems are helping to save us,” he told the audience.
The Permanent Secretary added that the Government is investing in rainwater harvesting systems, and looking to build micro dams through its climate change programme.
On the matter of the national animal identification and traceability system, where some 700,000 cattle will be tagged, the Permanent Secretary said the project is on track, and the tags will be in the island within two weeks.
While encouraging the farmers to make use of the system to end the theft of their animals, he reiterated that all tagging will be done without cost to them in the first instance, but later it will cost less than $200 for the process.
The Permanent Secretary called on the farmers to seize export opportunities, particularly in the United Kingdom (UK), for bananas, mangoes and other produce.
By Garfield L. Angus