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Shaw wants more drip irrigation for farmers

Published:Friday | May 10, 2019 | 1:25 PM
Minister of Agriculture Audley Shaw (right) cuts the ribbon to hand over drip irrigation systems for 150 acres of land to farmers of the Bull Savannah and Southfield Farmers Benevolent Societies at the Bethel Bible Camp, Malvern, St Elizabeth on Thursday, May 9, 2018. Sharing the moment (front row l-r) are Lester Mike Henry, Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister, Imogene Smith of the Southfield FBS and Tracy Powell of the Bull Savannah FBS -Contributed photo

Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Audley Shaw, has called for drip irrigation systems to be used by more farmers islandwide.

Shaw issued the call in Southfield, St Elizabeth, Thursday at the handover of drip irrigation systems for 150 acres of land to 300 farmers of the Bull Savannah and Southfield Farmers Benevolent Societies.

Applauding the Jamaica Social Investment Fund for facilitating the provision of the drip irrigation systems by way of grant funding of over $63 million from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Shaw urged both JSIF and the CDB to continue the partnership in order to replicate the “model across the length and breadth of Jamaica.”

Shaw noted that Agriculture in Jamaica continued to be largely dependent on rainfall and against the background of the impact of climate change, stressed the importance of increased access to irrigation.

“This is what will make a qualitative and quantitative difference to agriculture in Jamaica and help us to move from sporadic growth depending on rainfall to a constantly increasing trend of growth and so the provision of increased access to irrigated water is a key priority for the country and for our farmers,” Shaw said.

He further stressed the importance of innovation and creativity, in addressing climate change issues and listed the greater use of gravity fed irrigation systems, conservation of water resources, greater use of wind and solar energy as well as the diversification of the sector and utilisation of idle lands as part of the strategy for innovation.

Shaw commended the 300 small farmers who are beneficiaries of the JSIF project for their own contribution in kind, valued at $5.5 million and appealed to farmers islandwide to acquire drip irrigation systems.

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