On Friday, January 15, 2021, Hon, Floyd Green, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries handed over a backhoe to the Parish of St. Elizabeth. The ceremony took place at the Holland Estate.
After the severe damage experienced by farmers from heavy rains through Tropical Storm Eta, there was a great demand and interest for the Governments’ intervention in clearing access roads within farming communities and clear blocked drains.
Through the leadership and organization of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, two backhoes were then procured by the Rural Agriculture and Fisheries and assigned to the Parishes of St. Elizabeth and Clarendon.
Speaking at the Hand Over Ceremony, Minister Green mentioned that “the acquisition of the backhoes directly speaks to the efforts to introduce more appropriate technologies which will contribute to production and productivity within the sector”.
In addition “the backhoes will assist not only with the Farm Road Rehabilitation Programme but also in the implementation of the Ministry’s Flagship programmes (Production and Productivity Incentive Programmes) for both crop and livestock, drought mitigation and major projects to include the Essex Valley Agricultural Development Project among others”.
Practically, the backhoes will be used to clear drains and blocked roads, dig drains for irrigation pipes, assist in the removal of large boulders or stone heap and trees from farms.
In wetlands and areas with high water table such as Holland, the backhoe will be essential to cut drains thereby lowering the water table which is an essential component to increasing production.
With this new fleet of mechanized equipment which will add to RADA’s tractor service to farmers, the organization has pledged that the equipment will be properly maintained and serviced based on its value and life-span.
The prioritization of the procurement of the backhoes will seek to improve and strengthen mechanization in agriculture and increase production and productivity within the sector.