RADA conducting impact assessment of drought on farm communities

RADA conducting impact assessment of drought on farm communities

Friday, July 19, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — TheRuralAgricultural Development Authority(RADA) says itis now conducting an assessment of the impact of drought on major farming communities across the island.

“Right now, we have to be trucking water to farmers in Manchester, St Elizabeth, St Mary and St Ann,” said Peter Thompson, RADA chief executive officer.

Thompson was speaking at a stakeholder's breakfast meeting for the 10thannual Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GRAS) conference, held at the Knutsford Court Hotel on Chelsea Avenue in Kingston today, July 19.

The conference, which is to be held from September 30 to October 4 at the Royalton Negril Resort, is co-organised by the Caribbean Agricultural Extension Providers' Network (CAEPNet), RADA and the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries.

Thompson indicated that a report outlining the increases in local agricultural commodities will be prepared and shared with the public in short order.

Meanwhile, he is urging farmers not to use the sprinkler system for irrigation but to instead resort to the drip system of irrigation.

This, he said, is necessary so that less water is wasted on weeds and other plants that are not a part of the production process.

“We are also encouraging farmers to move livestock to shaded areas so as to minimize the competition between crops and livestock as the livestock will be competing with plants for water,” he advised.

He added that farmersin the parishes of St Elizabeth and Manchester should utilise the mulching technique of farming, which conserves soil moisture, lowers soil temperatures around plant roots, prevents erosion and reduces weed growth.

“Farmers should also scale back on their production. It makes no sense for you to plant 10 acres of something you will be unable to water, do one or two acres instead,” he advised.

In his remarks, Acting Chief Technical Director in the Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry, Roy McNeil, said the GFRAS conference will identify and document real solutions to the challenges of climate change.

He added that the conference will also present an opportunity to strengthen alliances and create synergies among various sectors involving food and nutrition security.

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