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Clarendon farmers to benefit from PCJ project

Published:Wednesday | November 11, 2015 | 10:27 AM

MAY PEN, Clarendon:

Clarendon farmer Ludgar Parish is one happy man as he is anticipating the big drop in his electricity bill, thanks to the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica's (PCJ) energy efficiency intervention implemented through the National Irrigation Commission (NIC).

The PCJ installed Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) - a type of motor controller that drives an electric motor by varying the frequency and voltage supplied to the electric motor.

The PCJ powered the project at a cost of $22 million through the National Irrigation Commission - the agency of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries charged with providing irrigation services for the sector.

Parish, who is a poultry and cane farmer in Four Paths said his challenges are many, not the least of which is the large electricity bill.

"This project will definitely assist farmers in cutting their loss.

Water to the cane farmer is very important, without it we can't grow our cane," the farmer who produces about 1000 tonnes of cane annually told Rural Xpress after its official launch.

"Farmers are very encouraged by this initiative as we look forward to benefiting from it."

Minister of State in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Julian Robinson in addressing stakeholders and farmers said the project supports the national effort to unleash the potential of agriculture to grow the Jamaican economy and enhance the country's food security.

"If Jamaica is to increase its production and productivity and ensure its food security, irrigation systems needed to be significantly improved and expanded. The total irrigable land in Jamaica is 187,814 hectares yet only 12,500 hectares or about seven per cent of the land is irrigated," he shared.

As a result of this, the minister said strategies intended to optimise and expand the country's irrigation systems must be developed.