Irish potato programme gets $50-million boost
Some $50 million is to be pumped into providing crop care and productivity support for this year's implementation of the National Irish Potato Programme.
The entire programme will cost $1.6 billion.
Minister without portfolio for agriculture J.C. Hutchinson said the inputs will include pesticides and fertilisers, among other key provisions.
"We are going to be increasing productivity by 11 per cent," said Hutchinson, who was speaking at a national Irish potato stakeholders' seminar at the National Irrigation Commission research station in Hounslow, St Elizabeth, last Thursday.
Hutchinson said the programme's out-turn for the 2016-17 crop year, which ended in June, saw the sector recording a 99 per cent self-sufficiency rate in local table potato production.
This, he contended, has set the tone for the 2017-18 crop year, which will focus on further boosting productivity.
The minister said that nine validation plots will be established on which participatory training for farmers will be conducted. Additionally, he said 20 farm tours will be conducted for farmers not benefiting from the training exercise.
"The National Irish Potato Programme has earned its reputation as a success story for Jamaican agriculture and in addition to that, it has become a model for our import substitution strategy, which we are also now applying to other crops such as onion," he said.