Agriculture Push-Start Going Well

Photo: Adrian Walker Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson, addresses the Women and Youth in Agriculture Consultation Forum at The Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston on January 19.

Story Highlights

  • Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson, says the pilot of the Agriculture Push-Start (APS) programme, launched in Guys Hill, St. Mary in October, is progressing well.
  • Minister Hutchinson, who was speaking with JIS News at the Women and Youth in Agriculture Consultation Forum at The Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston on Friday (January 19), said the project is providing returns for the participants.
  • Minister Hutchinson said the Ministry will be looking to get more persons involved in the APS.

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson, says the pilot of the Agriculture Push-Start (APS) programme, launched in Guys Hill, St. Mary in October, is progressing well.

Under the initiative, being undertaken in collaboration with the Promotion of Regional Opportunities for Produce through Enterprises and Linkages (PROPEL) project, among other partners, approximately 20 farmers have been engaged in the production of Irish potato, onions and Scotch bonnet peppers.

Minister Hutchinson, who was speaking with JIS News at the Women and Youth in Agriculture Consultation Forum at The Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston on Friday (January 19), said the project is providing returns for the participants.

He noted that there has been an 89 per cent compliance rate in the repayment of loans provided to the farmers for planting.

Minister Hutchinson said the Ministry will be looking to get more persons involved in the APS.

He said the Ministry is working with the National Land Agency (NLA) in order to ensure that persons who are interested in farming can have access to idle State lands.

“The aim of the programme is to engage anyone who wants to pursue agriculture as a business, to give them a good start, and, in so doing, we are creating employment. This is about providing opportunities to better provide for you and your family, your social empowerment and community development,” he noted.

Minister Hutchinson informed that more crops will be added to the programme as part of measures to cut down on food imports.

“We have the capacity to grow most of these crops ourselves. When we look at tomato, cantaloupe, gungo peas, carrot, and thyme, we should never be importing these crops, and so… once we find that this programme gets off, all of these crops will be coming into the programme to give those who want to get involved a push-start,” he said.

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