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Tufton urges farmers to embrace new equipment

Published:Wednesday | March 10, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Agriculture Minister Dr Christopher Tufton is urging farmers to embrace the new tools and equipment being introduced locally, arguing that this will make their operations more profitable.

"There is always the temptation to do things the old way ... but our farmers have to embrace technology if the technology is to work," Tufton stressed.

He was speaking yesterday at a function put on by the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) to display and present new farming equipment to small farmers from across the island.

Some of the equipment that was on display included generators, bush cutters, water pumps, mist blowers and knapsack sprayers.

Tufton disclosed that a leasing programme would be developed in order to make these tools and equipment available to farmers for a small users' fee.

Pushing his plan to modernise the agricultural sector, the minister said this move by RADA was a vital part of the overall objective of making agriculture more viable.

"We are trying to make farmers more competitive with these initiatives, and it is incumbent upon all of us to embrace that," he said.

Tufton said training would be provided for farmers "to demonstrate why it is a better approach to utilise these equipment".

In addition, he said RADA's extension officers would play an even greater role in providing support services to farmers.

The agriculture minister said these officers would be equipped with laptop computers and extension kits containing several tools and other equipment.

"The extension officers are the farmers' doctors and should consider themselves as such. They are the ones who should provide solutions, working with the farmers," he said.