The Ministry of Agriculture has launched its Agricultural Mechanisation Programme, which aims to reduce the amount of time farmers spend ploughing their field.
The programme is a collaboration between the ministry and the Farmers Support Company (FSC).
Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar said some 1,000 acres will be brought under cultivation using tractor services.
He further explained that the tractor services will significantly reduce the length of time taken for farmers to prepare the lands.
“The ministry will be working in collaboration with private tractor owners. And we encourage private owners to come forward and lend their services to farmers across SVG,” the minister said.
“Under ordinary working hours, it will take three weeks to work on the land to plough for the planting of potatoes.
“However, with the use of a tractor, this process can take up to 15 minutes to get the job done and prepared in a way where the planting process can be done,” Caesar added.
The minister disclosed that several individuals have registered as “service providers”, for tractor service for these farmers.
Farmers are being urged to get on board with the tractor services programme, which, the minister said, will be provided on a credit service, where no down payment is needed.
The cost to use the services will be deducted from their reaping.
“We are now asking framers to register with the agricultural stations in the different locations, speak to the extension officers, get the information to them …
“The extension officer is going to timetable a day when the tractor will be available to visit the farmer,” he explained.
Farmers, extension officers, along with the tractor service providers, are being advised to meet on site to verify the acreage that has been ploughed.
Further, the farmer has to sign off to confirming that the services were provided.
The FCS will deduct from sales after the farmers harvest the crops, the cost of ploughing the field.
Meanwhile, Chief Agriculture Officer, Leslie Grant said he believes that the programme will improve the quality of production through the uniformity of ploughing techniques.