A few farmers who were part of the first cohort to receive training under the Farmers’ Empowerment Enfranchisement Drive (FEED) programme, last year, are facing challenges.
Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Indar Weir, disclosed this on Sunday, on the Getting Down To Brass Tacks programme, which focused on agriculture and where it is poised to go in the future.
Queried by moderator Corey Lane about the progress of the first batch of farmers in the FEED Programme, the Agriculture Minister said a few of them were waiting for land. “You would know because of bureaucracy in the public service that even though Government at the end of the day is the owner of land under the Crown, you still have to do all the necessary transfers, etcetera, and we have had some challenges. I won’t deny that but majority of the farmers are on land.”
Minister Weir, however, lamented that for the farmers who were supposed to go to Graeme Hall, there was an issue with the water pump there. “There is no point putting farmers on land when they can’t get access to water. So, in essence, basically what they would be doing is planting to watch it waste.”
And, we are putting the water pump in place at the Ministry of Agriculture so that the farmers can come on. But I must say that 90 per cent of the farmers who graduated from the first cohort are already producing,” he said.
While noting some success stories existed, the Agriculture Minister added that he could not promise a 100 per cent gain on anything done in the FEED programme, as he conceded that some might be trained and given the start-up kits, but may not produce, or may drop out of farming.