News Date: August 03 2016
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, has announced that the Government will be expanding the hectares of irrigated land available to the farming sector.
Mr. Holness, who was addressing yesterday’s (Aug.1) final day of the Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show in May Pen, Clarendon, said the 12,500 hectares already under irrigation will be doubled.
He noted that the National Irrigation Commission (NIC) will be tasked with the undertaking.
“We have secured a loan from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and grant financing from the United Kingdom (UK) Caribbean Infrastructure Programme, which will have an impact,” he said.
He informed that work in this regard has already started in Essex Valley in St. Elizabeth.
“We are going to do a water project there, which will have an impact on 3,000 farmers,” the Prime Minister said.
Transport and Mining Minister, and Member of Parliament for Central Clarendon, Hon. Mike Henry in his remarks, said that abandoned lands must be put into productive use.
He congratulated the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) for its continued stewardship and dedication to agriculture. He urged the entity to facilitate the establishment of a science park to train students in agriculture and to undertake research for the benefit of the sector.
Mr. Henry told patrons that “trains will return to bring you to Denbigh in the near future”.
Director of the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) and the European Union (EU), Michael Hailu, said he was impressed with the quality of produce and livestock on display at Denbigh.
He also commended the Government’s support for agriculture in Jamaica.
For his part, JAS President, Norman Grant declared the 64th staging of the Denbigh Agricultural Show an “overwhelming” success.
Mr. Grant noted that there were nearly 100,000 patrons over the three-day staging of the event, with a 20 per cent increase in attendance for the first day when compared to last year.
He also declared the ‘Grow What We Eat…Eat What We Grow’ campaign as impactful in saving the country over US$500,000 in food imports since its launch in November 2003.
The JAS President pledged to continue to work with the Industry, Commerce Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry to expand the campaign.
On the final day of the event, the Prime Minister observed several booths including those of the Ebony HEART Academy, Delta Supply and HiPro.