Tue | Jan 19, 2021

100 farmers to benefit from $3.6-million project

Published:Monday | September 21, 2020 | 12:07 AM

Some 100 farmers from five parishes across the island are to benefit from the distribution of 70,000 vegetable seedlings and fruit trees under the second phase of the Agri Resilience Response to COVID Project, valued at $3.6 million.

The parishes are Kingston, St Andrew, Clarendon, St Ann and Portland.

Under the project, which is being implemented by the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) and funded by United Way of Jamaica, the farmers will receive hot pepper, sweet pepper, tomato, cucumber and carrot seedlings. Fruit trees being distributed will include lime, mango and avocado.

The farmers, who will receive a cash grant of $30,000 each, are also to receive technical support and other inputs, such as fertilisers, to assist with land preparation.

Last month, under the first phase of the project, 20 farmers in the parish of St Catherine also benefited from the distribution of seedlings and fruit trees valued at $600,000. Addressing the virtual launch of the project on September 16, First Vice-President of the JAS, Denton Alvaranga, emphasised the lessons learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Market diversification

“It has taught us about the need to diversify our markets and our crops, to increase our capacity for crop storage, and the need for processing and adding value to our crops,” he said.

Alvaranga noted that the JAS was pleased to be partnering with United Way of Jamaica, and expressed gratitude to them for bringing assistance to the 100 farmers.

He also hailed the relationship between the two entities, which have collaborated over the years in times of disaster from as far back as Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

Chief Executive Officer of United Way of Jamaica Winsome Wilkins said it was a privilege to be “partnering with farmers to ensure food security for all”.