Statement to Parliament by the Hon. Derrick Kellier, CD, MP - Minister of Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries
National Farm Roads Rehabilitation Programme
February 2, 2016
This Government is committed to removing all the binding constraints to agricultural production in this country in order to increase both national food security and to maximise export earnings from agriculture.
One of the binding constraints is the deplorable road conditions which militate against farmers’ ability to transport inputs to their farm and their produce to market.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has never had a consistent and comprehensive road rehabilitation programme and this has continued to affect our farmers. The farmers of this country deserve all the assistance possible, given their amazing resilience in feeding us despite the many challenges that confront them.
It is against this background that this National Farm Roads Rehabilitation Programme was conceptualised under the Rural Development Task Force appointed by the Most Honourable Prime Minister. This programme is a comprehensive one to address farm roads across the length and breadth of Jamaica, at a cost of $1.22B.
Today the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, through our agency, the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) signed seven contracts with five contractors for the rehabilitation of farm roads in 12 parishes involved in agricultural production.
This morning’s signing at Jamaica House was the second of three phases of the programme currently being implemented by RADA and is part of my Ministry’s programme for national food security and contribution to sustainable national growth and economic development.
As indicated by the Most Honourable Prime Minister, the overall proposal under the National Farm Roads Rehabilitation Programme will directly impact over 11,500 farmers islandwide and its objective is consistent with the developmental priorities of the Government of Jamaica.
Following the approval of J$500M by the Government of Jamaica the programme is currently being implemented in three phases as follows:
Phase 1- the rehabilitation of five roads has already been completed and two more are 70 per cent complete at an overall cost of $94,753,137; those already completed are Bull Dead, Frederick Piece, Marley to Canoe Valley, Banting Road in Manchester and Hall’s Delight in St Andrew.
Phase 2 - the signing of the 7 contracts today valued at $182, 054,069.54 for the rehabilitation of 22 farm roads;
The roads to be rehabilitated are:
Under Phase 3 work will be executed to complete the list of 41 priority roads, amounting to 151.04 km across 13 parishes. Selection of the 41 roads was made in conjunction with the overall Domestic Crop Development Plan as it relates to the targets to be achieved in the short to medium term. This phase will be rolled out in the 2016-2017 Financial Year.
These interventions are projected to cause an estimated 5% increase in production within the first quarter of Financial Year 2016/ 2017.
The expected results are as follows: