Tue | Sep 19, 2017

Low-cost machinery, better roads coming for farmers

Published:Friday | July 15, 2016 | 7:00 AM

Farmers will soon have access to heavy-duty equipment and tools at reduced costs for use on their farms.

Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Karl Samuda has pledged to assist Senator Norman Grant, the president of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), with reintroducing the initiative.

Once implemented, farmers will be able to rent heavy-duty equipment such as tractors at reduced rates from the JAS, while smaller tools will be available for use for free.

Samuda and Grant are to meet to finalise the details of the plan.

"We have to assist by providing you with modern equipment to be used on your farms. That way you can go much faster and produce better crops without a debt over your head," said Samuda.

He was responding to a question from a farmer at the 121st JAS annual general meeting at the Denbigh Showground in Clarendon on Wednesday.

More than 400 farmers from communities across the island attended the meeting.

The agriculture minister also assured farmers that the Government is taking steps to ensure that they have proper roads to transport their goods.

According to Samuda, all road contracts that were approved before the Government taking office will be completed.

The minister also said he has ordered an assessment of farm roads to ensure that the worst roads are addressed.

"Through the help of the JAS and RADA, which will go and survey and give us an accurate account of those roads that are now worse off, we will try our best to bring a remedy to most of those roads that are causing you grief," he said.

Samuda said over $200 million will be spent on upgrading farm roads this year.