Rehabilitation of roads, installation of irrigation pipelines in Essex Valley to begin soonWednesday, October 20, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Work will commence shortly on the rehabilitation of 25 kilometres of roadway and installation of 70 kilometres of pipeline in several Essex Valley communities under the Essex Valley Agriculture Development Project (EVADP).
Additionally, under the EVADP, seven pumping stations, inclusive of two booster stations, as well as marketing facilities systems, including an administrative building, a packing house, a produce handling facility and food safety sanitation areas will be constructed.
“Another critical part of this project is the use of renewable energy systems. We will be constructing a solar photovoltaic plant spanning 5.7 hectares of land for the irrigation system as well as installing energy efficient equipment,” Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Dermon Spence said.
He was speaking at a community consultation held in Comma Pen, St Elizabeth, on October 7, that was aimed at updating the residents on works being carried out under the project.
Spence said that upon completion of the key objective of project, the over 700 farmers operating on the 800 hectares of land in the Essex Valley region will benefit from an irrigation system that will deliver 1,700 cubit metres per hour of water from the five productive wells that will be utilised.
The farmers, Spence said, will also gain access to associated marketing facilities and systems, as well as farmer advisory services.
The permanent secretary also pointed out the project is expected to result in a 50 per cent increase in the production of crops such as scallion, watermelon, cantaloupe, sweet pepper and tomatoes.
“Additionally, there will be a 70 per cent increase in the number of farms with access to irrigation water,” he said.
The Essex Valley area is one characterised by low rainfall and frequent droughts, which heavily impacts the production and earning potential of the farmers.
Key stakeholders on this phase of the project are N O Whyte and Associates, responsible for the irrigation network and road rehabilitation design and Politecnica/GDM Associates, which will lead on the design of the agriculture buildings.
The EVADP, which is financed with a £35,515-million grant from the United Kingdom Caribbean Infrastructure Partnership Fund and is administered by the Caribbean Development Bank, was launched in January 2019 and is expected to be completed by June 2023.