Farmers are expected to receive an addition J$110 million in support to reduce the impact of a meteorological drought that is currently plaguing the island.
Agricultural workers were previously given J$90 million in support, but the worsening drought conditions have prompted the Government to allocate more funding to build resilience.
While speaking during a press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister today (March 3), Pearnel Charles Jr, minister of agriculture and fisheries, said the sector was uniquely vulnerable to severe weather conditions and additional funding was needed to preserve billions in investments.
“For us, our concern is the possibility of moving into an agricultural drought where the focus for us is not just on the rainfall patterns, but more so on the moisture content in our soils and the capacity for our crops to complete their cycle of development,” said Charles.
A total of J$90 million has already been use to procure water trucks for farmers and the additional funds will see more trucks being rolled out. A 4,000 gallon truck will also be procured to supply the fleet of farmers.
The minister shared that there are 10 completed water harvesting ponds, three more being constructed, and an additional two to follow at a later date. Farmers have also received water utilisation training in addition to seeds and mulch that is good for retaining moisture.
Livestock farmers have also received J$15.7 million to support the purchasing of black tanks and irrigation equipment and another J$15.7 million has been identified to continue support.
“All of this is important for us to make sure that we’re working together to build resilience and to expand and fast track our efforts to efficiently utilise our water resources to improve the access to water and to importantly, to us in agriculture, to improve irrigation and moisture conservation systems,” said Charles.
The minister said the Government is working hard to improve irrigation systems. A total of J$4.4 billion is expected to be spent on building resilience this year.
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READ: Drought situation worsening, gov’t allots additional J$100 million for response