Boost for Agro Industry Development Project


The Ministry of Commerce, Science and Technology’s Agro Industrial Development Project has been allotted $10.7 million in the 2004/05 Estimates of Expenditure now before the House of Representatives.
This allocation will go towards finalizing standardization studies and the validation of protocols; the hosting of workshops for community groups for the establishment and maintenance of experimental cultivation crops with assistance from the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA); preparing market-scoping studies; and the procurement of documentation and expertise on the Nutraceutical industry.
The project, which is being implemented by the Scientific Research Council and is jointly funded by the Jamaican Government and the Inter-American Agency for Cooperation and Development, was commissioned in February 2003 and is expected to end December 2005.
It is focused on encouraging the use of Jamaica’s biodiversity and raw material resources to boost economic development and assisting local food processors in expanding their capacity to produce a wide range of low-acid canned foods to international specifications, as well as formulating an economic fish ration with locally available feed components, which can be used by ornamental fish growers to produce export quality fish.
Of the targets envisaged, several had been achieved up to December 2003. These include the procurement of equipment for extraction, purification and standardization; training of officers in collecting, testing and processing plant extracts; and training senior staff of the Natural Products Unit in purification and standardization methods.
In addition, protocols for five products (ginger, rosemary, lemongrass, sorrel and tumeric) were completed and sample products were developed for functional foods, cosmetics, insect repellants and expectorant. A research paper was also prepared on five plants.

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