A project currently in train at River Plantation, St. Philip, has been bolstered with the injection of nearly $6 million by Government.
This was divulged yesterday by Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Indar Weir, as he discussed myriad issues related to agriculture on VOB’s Brass Tacks Sunday programme with moderator, Corey Lane.
Minister Weir explained the significance of the project against the backdrop that challenges faced by agriculture were driven firstly by climate change.
He said: “If you are not having prolonged droughts, you are getting rainfalls that are not customary at certain periods and of course severe flooding. For many decades, we have been talking about climate change and unfortunately the adjustment has not been made fast enough for us to be able to exist in an environment where you have extreme weather conditions or climatic events.
“So therefore, the farmers would always be at a disadvantage, however, the Ministry of Finance and the Prime Minister has now given $5.9 million to start the process of water harvesting and that is a project that we are starting at River in St. Philip.”
While adding that the COVID-19 pandemic had set back the project, he noted, however, that all preliminary work had begun and the Ministry was now at the stage where it was going to move towards expanding the Browne’s Pond at River Plahn, St. Philip, to ensure some 6,000,000 US gallons of water to farmers.
“Currently, they (the farmers) depend on the stream at Three Houses Spring to run into Browne’s Pond and unfortunately along that stream, we would find that there are farmers upstream that block the stream and stop farmers downstream from getting access to water. So, we are correcting that, and we have already started the process to put in sluice gates and we are going to do a metering system to provide water to farmers along the stream as well,” Minister Weir stated.
Adding that this would also be accompanied by the repealing of the Three Houses Spring Act, which is about 100 years old, he stressed the approach to this area in St. Philip would help farmers to mitigate climate change, putting them in a position where they can have surety and consistency in supply, with little or no loss of crop due to flooding or droughts.