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United Way Helps Pig Farmers Through Investment In Agriculture

United Way Helps Pig Farmers Through Investment In Agriculture

(KINGSTON, March 25, 2013): Seventy five (75) farmers were trained in sustainable pig management and production under a partnership of the United Way of Jamaica and the Jamaica Agricultural Society’s Pig Farming and Revolving Scheme.

Thirty (30) farmers of those trained each received two wieners and seven bags of pig feed. Each farmer is required to return 4 wieners to the JAS which are then distributed to farmers already waiting to be a part of the programme. This investment is slated to improve the social and economic wellbeing of some 800 farmers over a five year period from the most vulnerable rural communities across Jamaica. The level of pork production is expected to increase significantly as a result of the investment.

The partnership between United Way and the JAS has been a long standing one. United Way has invested over $31 million dollars in Agricultural projects over the past eight years. After Hurricane Ivan, in 2004 alone, United Way invested some $13 million dollars to assist with the revival of agricultural production in some areas across the island. Investment has been made in fish farming, bee keeping, ackee farming and poultry production.

“Our investment in the Jamaica Agricultural Society’s projects is in keeping with our mission to improve lives through partnership for a better Jamaica, ” says United Way’s Chairman, Mr. Ian Forbes. Some of the communities that have benefitted include Cool Shades Mexico, Riversdale, Devil’s Race Course, Bois Content, Byndloss, Bodles, Mount Pass, Omeally, Colbeck and Watermount.

United Way also presented $1.5 million to the JAS on March 5, 2013 to provide input materials such as seeds, small tools and equipment following the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. A total of 500 farmers in the worst affected areas of St Mary, Portland, St Ann, St Thomas, St. Catherine and Kingston & St Andrew are to benefit.

“The assistance will ensure that the short to medium term livelihood of the affected farmers are secure as many of these persons are totally dependent on agriculture for survival,” says Senator Norman Grant, President of the Jamaica Agricultural Society.

Senator Grant explained that “ these combined efforts demonstrate that United Way is serious about the agricultural sector and continues to play a noble part in its progression”. United Way is undoubtedly committed to building stronger, healthier and more caring communities.

Mrs. Janet Pullen, JAS’s Manager of Training, Projects and Marketing pointed out that members of 12 branches of the Agricultural Society have since benefited from the programme.

The initial training of some 200 ackee farmers and the establishment of the Clarendon Ackee Farmers’ Cooperative, which is now 250 members strong, are also among United Way’s accomplishments. The project is expected to directly benefit some 1600 persons while indirectly impacting over 12,000 persons.

Mrs. Melzadar Robinson, Pig Farmer of Cool Shades Mexico, St. Catherine speaking with
United Way’s Chairman, Mr. Ian Forbes (r) and Board member, Mr. Elon Beckford,
while other members of the touring party look on.

Ackees being prepared for packaging.

Jamaica’s First Established Ackee Farmers and Suppliers Association— Clarendon.