The RADA St. Elizabeth Parish Open Day dubbed Agrifest has grown significantly over the years to become the biggest agricultural showcase in the Parish. The St. Elizabeth Agrifest which was held on Friday, May 30, 2019 at the Social Development Commission Complex, Santa Cruz, St. Elizabeth provided the direct opportunity for farmers to interact with RADA and other agricultural stakeholders.
RADA St. Elizabeth Agrifest sought to highlight the services offerings of RADA to include: livestock, crop care and nutrition, home economics and social services, marketing and post harvesting along with land husbandry management among others.
In addition, synergies are were created with diversed organizations through exhibits from H&L Agro, Newport-Fersan, Agri Chem Plant Limited among others, to gain insights into new product offerings and new techniques employed.
Live entertainment were featured throughout the event to include the crowing of the St. Elizabeth Farm Queen organized by the Jamaica Agricultural Society.
The RADA Open Days that occurs annually in most parishes and have become an integral means of updating farmers and agricultural interests on the latest happenings and the promotion of agricultural development in the parishes.
Mainstay in St. Elizabeth
With Agriculture being the most significant economic mainstay within the Parish (though historically held by Bauxite), this sector also emerges as the single largest contributor of the nation’s gross domestic agricultural production.
In 2018, the parish contributed approximately 121,940.73 tons of domestic food crops to the national domestic output. This saw the farmers within the parish earning approximately 10 Billion Dollars.
Other agricultural enterprise which contributes extensively to the country’s overall production includes but is not limited to:
the Fishing Industry (both salt and fresh water), Sugarcane Production, Spice Production and Agro Processing.
Hon. J.C. Hutchinson, Minister without Portfolio, Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries during his keynote address at the Official Function sought to commend the RADA St. Elizabeth extension staff for the technical training and advice given to farmers within the Parish along with the successful organization of Agrifest 2019.
The farmers were encouraged to increase productivity, to embrace emerging markets for the production of bamboo and castor bean and were exposed to the efficiencies to be created within the Agro-Economic Zones.