Jamaica: In a bid to empower Jamaican farmers, Rural Agriculture Development Agency (RADA) scheduled development of GIS, Go-Jamaica reported. This system will help map and analyse data collected by extension officers in the field. It is a first of its kind for RADA and is expected to improve the farmer registration process and enable officers to produce reliable statistics regarding acreage and crop production.
The agency doesn’t have sufficient officers and the data is also not so accurate. So, it has introduced several training programmes for its 98 extension officers, according to Phillip Chung, Senior Director of the Division of Technology, Training and Technical Information at RADA.
“One extension officer is assigned to a region and is sometimes responsible for monitoring and training up to 1000 farmers,” explained Chung.
These officers are also responsible for making school talks and special community visits. The ratio is far from ideal but the challenge could be further exacerbated by a phase out. The number of assistant extension officers currently stands at 50 but plans are afoot to reduce that number to zero in a few years.