Sat | Jan 20, 2018

More resources for RADA

Published:Thursday | March 31, 2016 | 12:00 AM
J.C. Hutchinson


More resources are to be made available to the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) to assist local farmers.

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, J.C. Hutchinson, says RADA will now be the sole agency through which assistance is provided for farmers, thereby making accountability an easier task.

Addressing the 2016 Montpelier Agricultural and Industrial Show in St James on Monday, March 28, Hutchinson said the move is also aimed at removing members of parliament from direct involvement in the process.

"We intend to make sure that all the inputs that come through RADA fertilisers, seeds and sprays will go directly to the farmer and not to the members of parliament," he said. Hutchinson pointed out that with the new structure, farmers will be able to interact more often with their RADA representatives to determine their needs and how supplies will be delivered. Meanwhile, the minister is calling on young persons to enter the agricultural sector and to start seeing the industry as an attractive profession.

He said the Government is moving to get Jamaican youth more interested in agriculture, starting at the primary- and secondary-school levels, where major investments will be made.

"Most of us older persons are coming out and we find that young persons are not really interested in agriculture, so we will now be getting on board school gardens in every primary and high school. These school gardens are where we will be providing the inputs, and we are also going to make sure that we provide them with a 'black tank', so that we can have drip irrigation in place," Hutchinson said.

He noted that the school gardens will serve dual roles, - as teaching aids for the students, and as demonstration plots for adult farmers in the communities.