Mon | Mar 30, 2020

MOU to speed up farm road repairs

Published:Thursday | January 23, 2020 | 12:20 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

A pact signed by the agriculture ministry and municipal corporations will increase the turnaround time for the rehabilitation of farm roads across Jamaica.

The move towards establishing the farm road MOU was designed to speed up the process and strip away unnecessary red tape causing delays, said J.C. Hutchinson, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries.

“What we are going to be doing now is we are going to be working out an MOU with the municipal corporation whereby once the road has been identified as a farm road by the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), the scoping now will be done by the municipal corporation,” said Hutchinson, who was speaking at the opening of the Tangle River, Prosper, Dragoon, and Flagstaff farm roads in St James yesterday.

Hutchinson said the ministry was hamstrung by inadequate personnel to effectively identify and scope agricultural roads. The upshot, he said, was that farmers were suffering.

“What we are finding out [is that] we have limited amount of personnel. We have one person to do procurement, and we find that when roads are allocated after the budget, it takes nearly a year before we can get the roads completed,” said Hutchinson, who is also a farmer.

“Having these roads being done by the municipal corporation, it is one whereby they know the roads, they have an engineer, and they will be able to scope the roads in their parish within a matter of three weeks,” said Hutchinson.

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