Jamaica Fights Drought By Trucking Water To Farms.

Photo: Okoye Henry, Jamaica Governement Information Service. The two new water trucks with govenment officials and drivers.
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The Jamaican government has bought two new water trucks which will be used to carry water to remote farms in times of drought, it was announced by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Mining.

The Shacman F3000 trucks are made in China and have a maximum speed of 90 mph.

The units, each with a capacity of 4,491 gallons and the ability to pump 500 gallons per minute, represent a $37 (Jamaican dollars) million investment.

Both units were commissioned into service by Portfolio Minister, Floyd Green, during a ceremony at the NIC’s Hounslow office in St. Elizabeth on Friday ,April 26.

Speaking during the ceremony, Minister Green said the trucks will serve approximately 1,200 farmers across more than 70 communities. These include: Malvern, Top Hill, Newell, Junction, Flagaman and Lacovia, which are among the areas hardest hit by the prevailing drought.

“The idea is that the trucks will be utilised to serve our worst hit areas and, unfortunately, [one] worst hit area happens to be right here in [South] St. Elizabeth. So these two trucks will be utilised to ensure that the farmers are able to get water,” Mr. Green outlined.

He further advised of plans to deploy one of the trucks to assist farmers in Kitson Town, Sandy Bay and Old Harbour in St. Catherine, once the drought breaks.

The Minister underscored the importance of proactive measures in preparing for drought conditions, noting that current rainfall projections do not indicate a promising outlook for the coming months.

“[These trucks] will really help them (farmers) to ensure that they see profitability from their agricultural enterprise, and that they’re able to save their crops during this time of drought,” Mr. Green explained.

“So it is wonderful that we’re here to deliver to the farmers something that can help them maneuver this difficult time [and] secure their investments,” he added.

For his part, NIS Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Joseph Gyles, highlighted the importance of providing the trucks in furthering the organisation’s mission of serving the agricultural community.

He expressed gratitude for the Ministry’s investment in the units’ acquisition, emphasising the entity’s commitment to delivering high-quality irrigation services to farmers.

“We understand the vital role that farmers play in the prosperity of our nation, and we are dedicated to providing them with the support and resources they need to thrive. Whether it’s through efficient irrigation systems, technical assistance, or personalised customer care, we are here to ensure that our farmers have the tools to succeed,” Mr. Gyles further underscored.

Farmer, Tisha Robinson, expressed her appreciation for the initiative, noting challenges which the farmers face in accessing water during droughts.

She said the new trucks will provide crucial support to farmers who rely on these to fill up their tanks, especially in areas without access.

Ms. Robinson, who has been farming in Pedro Plains since she was 14 years old, and cultivates cucumber, melon and cantaloupe, pointed out that the trucks’ provision “is a good help to us.”

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