Thu | Nov 30, 2023

St Elizabeth farmers to benefit from US$200-million irrigation scheme

Published:Tuesday | March 21, 2023 | 12:36 AM
Prime Minister Andrew Holness
Prime Minister Andrew Holness

Hundreds of farmers in the communities of Flagaman, Greenfield, Southfield, and Top Hill, in St Elizabeth are to benefit from a US$200-million Pedro Plains Irrigation Scheme, with which the Government is moving ahead.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness made the announcement during his contribution to the 2023-24 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives, on Thursday, March 16.

Holness said the project would be financed through a combination of government resources, grants, and loan funding from the French Government.

He said that through the support of the French Government, “We undertook a feasibility study to take water from the Black River and use it to irrigate the plains of St Elizabeth.”

“Not only is the project feasible, but the team of French engineers have already designed the system and costed its implementation,” Mr Holness added.

He said that the plains of St Elizabeth are among the most fertile in the country, and farmers, despite not having irrigation, “have proven to be the best in the world”.

The Prime Minister further informed the House that the project would be designated a national strategic project.

He said that the Government, with support from the United Kingdom, has undertaken the “biggest spend in Jamaica’s history on irrigation”, having invested billions in the Essex Valley Irrigation Scheme to serve parts of St Elizabeth, Manchester, and the Southern Plains Irrigation Scheme, which will serve farmers in parts of Clarendon and St Catherine.

He said that although the projects experienced challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, they are now moving apace.