Pepper programme launched in Manchester
Using the model of the National Irish Potato Programme, Government will soon be rolling out a Scotch bonnet pepper programme utilising greenhouses in Devon, Manchester.
Addressing Irish potato farmers at a meeting held in Devon on Wednesday, Hon J.C. Hutchinson, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, said the greenhouses would be used to produce seedlings.
This Scotch bonnet programme, Hutchinson said, will be similar to the National Irish Potato Programme in that farmers will receive seedlings and other inputs upfront, with payments being made when crops are reaped.
In addition, technical support will be provided by the various stakeholders, including the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), and marketing support will be provided through the Potato and Onion Producers Association with whom farmers can enter into contractual arrangements.
Hutchinson stated that in order for farmers to benefit from the programme they would need to be a member of an organisation and come under the umbrella of RADA. Each group will be required to select an agricultural aide for whom training will be provided. This, he said, would ensure that farmers engage in best practices in the cultivation of their crop.