Big boost coming for Clarendon farmers

March 20, 2019
In this file 2018 photo, Jason Wilson, a young farmer in Bog Hole, Clarendon, prepares his land to plant dasheen.
In this file 2018 photo, Jason Wilson, a young farmer in Bog Hole, Clarendon, prepares his land to plant dasheen.

The Clarendon Municipal Corporation, in collaboration with Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), will be hosting a symposium on April 9 and 10 at the St Gabriel's Anglican Church Hall on Church Street in May Pen.

The event is being held to open doors for the many farmers in the parish. More than 300 will be targeted.

Local economic development officer for the corporation, Damion Young, said that farmers are involved in all aspects of agriculture and that was the primary reason for them to partner with JAMPRO and the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA).

"It is going to be a very dynamic initiative. And while many of our farmers and would-be farmers are of the opinion that nothing much is happening, the reality is that there are more opportunities in agriculture, and so we want to pull the curtains away and expose them to these opportunities," said Young.

He said that JAMPRO will be outlining the array of opportunities in agriculture and that representatives from Grace will also be interacting with farmers, speaking to them about their markets with respect to buying the scotch bonnet pepper and the West Indian red pepper.

"In fact, we do hope to sign contracts with the farmers so that they can move speedily into the cultivation of more of these peppers, ensuring there will be no need for the processors to import," said Young.

Young said that farmers will also be exposed to opportunities in the cultivation of cannabis, bamboo and cassava, and the markets that can be derived from growing castor beans.

"We have processors who need to buy these products, and so we want Clarendon to be in the lead where grasping these opportunities are concerned," he said.

He added that he hopes the symposium can help in closing the gap where underemployment and slow growth are concerned.

Regarding the cannabis industry, Young said that he is cognisant that it is not an easy one to break into, and that's where JAMPRO comes in.

"JAMPRO be coming with their team from the CLA, as well as from the Bureau of Standards, so that all the questions with respect to regulation can be answered," he said.

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