Govt moves to expand production

June 13, 2017
Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, J.C. Hutchinson (right), is shown cassava plants by Kingsley Clarke (second right), and other farmers involved in a project to supply Red Stripe with cassava that is used in the making of Red Stripe beer. Occasion was an Open Day and Expo hosted by the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), in Santa Cruz, St. Elizabeth, on June 8.

De facto agriculture minister J.C. Hutchinson says the ministry plans to roll out a massive programme to encourage the cultivation of crops such as including Scotch bonnet pepper, pineapple, strawberry and sweet potato.

He said these will be done in same way that the Irish potato and onion programmes are operated, whereby farmers are given a push-start with fertiliser and seeds and chemicals upfront and then when the crops are reaped, the companies subtract their input costs and the farmers keep the profit.

The minister said that the Government is going to help persons who are interested in farming, but who have no land. He advised that these persons should get in touch with RADA, so that they could be added to the list of farmers who will be placed on idle Government lands after the proper paperwork has been done.

Some 5,000 acres of land have already been identified in South Manchester and 120 farmers have been identified to begin working on those lands.

"If you have any idle land and you want to get into any of these programmes, get in touch with your RADA parish manager so when we are ready to roll it out, you will be on the list. If you know of any Government land that is idle, let us know, as we are prepared to put you as farmers on the land legally. We are not telling anyone to go and capture land. We will work out the documents with the land agency, so you can go on the land legally," the minister said.

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