Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson, says that 250 roads islandwide have been improved under the Government’s National Farm Road Programme.
He was speaking at the official opening of the rehabilitated roadways in the Marl Road and Castleton communities, in Balaclava, St. Elizabeth, on Thursday (December 19).
“We have spent over $1.8 billion on roughly 250 roads throughout the length and breadth of this island,” the Minister said.
“I want to congratulate all the persons from the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) who have made this possible. We have done our best to see if we can help the farmers in the various communities,” Mr. Hutchinson said.
He further noted that since implementation of the programme, “we have assisted 15,934 farmers across the island”.
The programme forms part of the Government’s initiative to improve farm roads and the economic viability of agricultural activities within rural Jamaica.
More than 70 farmers in the Marl Road community and 80 farmers from Castleton are set to benefit from rehabilitation of the roadways.
Farmers in the nearby communities rear livestock and produce cocoa, cash crops and yams.
The farm road programme, which is implemented by RADA, has allowed for increased market access to farmers, agro-processors and marketing entrepreneurs.
It has also stimulated growth in domestic crop and livestock production, and improvement in household incomes.