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Gov't to introduce new land use policy

Published:Friday | March 26, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Barrington Flemming, Gleaner Writer


The Government is drafting a new agriculture land-use policy to spur the use of arable lands across the country, which have lain fallow for decades.

Agriculture Minister Christopher Tufton told farmers and landowners from Braco in Trelawny on Tuesday, that the policy would govern agricultural land usage and prevent the sale and conversion of dedicated farmlands for other developmental projects.

"The policy is going to focus on the terms and conditions that will govern the use agricultural lands that are under the ownership of government, but leased to agro-investors and farmers to be used for agricultural production," he said, during the official launch of the Arable Lands Irrigated and Growing for the Nation Project (ALIGN), at Breezes Resort and Spa, Trelawny.

Compiling an inventory

The agriculture minister said the Government was now compiling an inventory of arable land across the country, through Agro-Invest, with the view of leasing available lands to farmers and other agricultural interests.

He said the lease agreement will require the lessee to provide a business model and timetable for use of the land, with the ministry of agriculture reserving the right to rescind the contract, should the lessee fail to put the land into production within the specified time.

Tufton also indicated that the Rural Agricultural Development Authority, was conducting a profile of soil across the country to determine for what the lands are best suited.

He added that the Trelawny plains irrigation district, of which Braco was a part, is being targeted for greater agricultural production under the ALIGN project, which is to be jointly implemented with the National Irrigation Commission.