Farmers extend gratitude to government and Ministry of Agriculture for vital support; free materials distributed as part of 25 by 25 initiative

The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Marine Resources is receiving an outpouring of gratitude from farmers all across the country as they continue to receive assistance in the form of training and climate-smart materials and technologies free of cost.

This assistance comes through the Drought Resilience Irrigation Project [DRIP] initiative which was launched in October 2023 as part of the Department of Agriculture’s 25 by 25 Agenda rollout. Materials such as ground cover, drip irrigation kits, fencing wire and poles have since been distributed to over one-hundred and fifty (150) farmers in response to the intensifying impacts of climate change, which continues to threaten water and food security across the region.

While collecting his supplies, Livestock farmer and Co-owner of Island Country Farms in Parson’s village, Neil Mitchell expressed profound gratitude to the Department of Agriculture stating, “I want to say thanks to Agriculture for assisting me with these wires and these poles to help me finish my fencing. I also want to say good, pleasant thanks to Mr. Shawn [Clarke] also for assisting me.”

Crop Farmer, Derrick Elliot spoke briefly about the assistance he received, noting that this support will help to fast track the 25 by 25 crop production plan. Mr. Elliot who received ground cover and had land cleared of scrub vegetation and shrubs that invited Green vervet monkeys and other pests said, “I would like to thank the Agriculture Department for their much needed assistance. This was just a land that was full of bush but now with the motivation of the 25 by 25, we are able to move forward and put the much needed produce for the island so we are able to eat healthy, eat local, buy local, support local.”

In a brief expression of gratitude, Crop farmer Thomas Finch explained that the use of ground cover has been extremely beneficial to him as the 100% woven polypropylene material has proven to be ideal for weed control. “I thank the minister for the help with the ground covering. It helped me a lot because I wouldn’t have so much weeds to pull out and that kind of thing”, he stated.

Meanwhile, Crop farmer Hewlett Hanley gave high commendation to the Ministry noting, “I just want to big up agriculture the same way. Respect. Love. I really appreciate it.”

With the full responsibility of keeping his small ruminants like sheep and goats safe, Livestock farmer, Raheem Bartlett of Pure Vibe Livestock said, “On behalf of Pure Vibes Livestock, I would like to say thank you to the Agriculture Department for assisting us with this fencing material to help secure our animals.”

While sharing his note of thanks, Crop Farmer Imran Christopher used the opportunity to share words of inspiration with other farmers.

He said, “I would like to send a heap of gratitude to the Department of Agriculture and their 25 by 25 vision and thank them for helping me to receive some matting to help according with my farm. I would like to encourage all the farmers to come and get some assistance and empower themselves and I will also like to thank the Minister and everybody at the department.”

The cost of essential materials can place a significant strain on farmers, particularly those operating on small-scale or subsistence levels. However, with the government’s generous support, farmers have been granted much-needed relief from the financial burdens associated with purchasing these vital resources.

This provision of essential materials to farmers represents more than just a gesture of goodwill—it is a testament to the government’s commitment to empowering food producers and enhancing food security on its journey to achieving CARICOM’s 25 by 2025 agenda target. (SKNIS)

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