Wed | Apr 21, 2021

RADA receives new equipment to boost productivity

Published:Saturday | January 16, 2021 | 4:24 PM
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Floyd Green (left), aboard the backhoe that was handed over to the St Elizabeth office of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) during a ceremony held at the Holland Estate in St Elizabeth.

Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Floyd Green on Friday handed over a backhoe to the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) to provide services to the farming communities of St Elizabeth.

The backhoe is one of two purchased by the Ministry, valuing approximately $38 million from funds received under the COVID Recovery Response Programme.

The other excavating equipment has been assigned to Clarendon.

Speaking at the handover ceremony held at the Holland Estate in St Elizabeth, Green said the backhoe will provide a greater opportunity for farmers to maximise on productivity.

“The backhoe will assist with farm road rehabilitation, but also in the Ministry’s flagship Productivity Incentive Programme which looks at crop, livestock, drought mitigation and other major projects in relation to our Essex Valley Agriculture Development Project.” 

He added: “The backhoe will also be used to do things such as clear drains, blocked roads, dig drains for irrigation pipes and assist with the removal of large boulders or stone heaps and trees from farms especially in the wetland areas like Holland.” 

The Minister also highlighted the importance of mechanising the agricultural sector to make the jobs of farmers easier. As such, he noted that the Ministry is in the process of procuring six tractors to be added to the fleet across the island.

“I recognised that based on the construction of our agricultural sector with a number of small farmers with small acreages, what they require is support from the Ministry in the provision of these equipment,” said Green.

“This is where the Ministry’s focus will be. We want to provide more equipment so we can truly have a mechanised agricultural sector,” he added.

For his part, Minister of State in the Ministry of Transport and Mining, J.C. Hutchinson, thanked the Agricultural Ministry for donating the backhoe to the farmers.

Hutchinson, who is also the member of parliament for North West St Elizabeth, indicated that he is even more pleased that this function should take place at Holland [Estate].”

“There is a vision in Holland. Holland is one where we can change the face of agriculture in this country and we are going to make sure that Holland develops. We have here an organisation called the benevolent society which is looking at assisting the Agro Investment Corporation (AIC) in developing this property,” Hutchinson explained.

Meanwhile, Holland Estate Farmer, Clive Brown, said he is very grateful to the Ministry for donating the backhoe.

“What has been introduced here at Holland is a mark of good opportunity for farmers,” he noted.

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