The House of Representatives on Tuesday (July 19) approved the Mid-Clarendon (Irrigation Area) Order, 2022.
Speaking in the House of Representatives, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., said he is empowered as Minister under Section 3(1) of the Irrigation Act, by Order, to declare any specified area in the Order an irrigation area.
The Mid-Clarendon area includes the communities of Rymesberry, Vernamfield, Clarendon Park, Mitchell Town, and Lionel Town.
He argued that the declaration of Mid-Clarendon as an irrigation area is justified, as the Ministry is seeking to increase agricultural production by at least 15 per cent to meet domestic, export and manufacturing input demand by 2025; as well as increase access to irrigation water across the island.
“The expansion of the boundaries and gazetting of this irrigation area are conditions precedent to achieve the stated objectives,” Mr. Charles said.
He informed that the Southern Plains Agricultural Development (SPAD) Project, being funded by the United Kingdom Caribbean Infrastructure Fund (UK CIF), also falls within the amended Mid-Clarendon Irrigation Area.
“The Project will improve irrigation, drainage, farm road, flood control systems and enhance agricultural production and marketing systems impacting approximately 795 hectares of arable lands in Clarendon and St. Catherine. The declaration of this irrigation area will underpin these infrastructure development activities,” Mr. Charles Jr. said.
He noted that the National Irrigation Commission Limited (Irrigation Authority) will be able to fully execute its mandate, once the area is officially declared as an Irrigation Area.
The National Irrigation Commission Limited, a company incorporated under the Companies Act, is the licensed Irrigation Authority by virtue of The Irrigation (Licensing of Authority) Order, 2022, made in accordance with Section 4 of the Irrigation Act.