Clarendon complex to become Ja's first agro-economic zone

May 12, 2016
Everton Medley (centre), Regional System Manager, National Irrigation Commission, explains operations of filtration system at the Ebony Park Pump Station in Clarendon to JC Hutchinson (right), Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries; and Percival Shaw, Zonal Director at the Rural Agricultural Development Authority. The occasion was a tour of the Ebony Park Agro-Park, one of nine agro-parks established by the Ministry.

Plans are afoot to develop a warehouse complex at the Spring Plain Agro-Park in Clarendon into Jamaica's first agro-economic zone.  

This was disclosed by Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, JC Hutchinson, following a tour of the Ebony Park and Spring Plain agro-parks on Tuesday.

Minister Hutchinson explained that the establishment of the agro-economic zone would be a public/private sector venture that would facilitate the marketing of farmers' produce in Clarendon, as well as islandwide.

"We are going to have grading, packaging and processing of all crops," Minister Hutchinson said, noting that the complex, which has been leased by a private investor for the production of potato chips, should be operational by next year.  

Minister Hutchinson said the complex will include a drying facility, cold storage and an abattoir will be constructed. When fully operational, farmers will be able to take all their C grade fruits and vegetables for processing into puree and marketing, Minister Hutchinson added.

To facilitate more efficient transfer of technical information to farmers, each agro-park, Minister Hutchinson said, will be assigned an extension officer.

Ebony Park and Spring Plain are two of nine agro-parks established by the Ministry across the island. Over 460 persons are employed to the Spring Plain and Ebony Park agro-parks, producing vegetables, condiments, roots and tubers on 316 of the 2,500-acre properties. 

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