Support For Irish Potato Farmers

Story Highlights

  • The Government is providing some $1.1 billion to assist farmers under its Irish Potato Expansion Programme, to meet a target of 1,200 hectares of production.
  • Making the disclosure at an Irish Potato Production Seminar, held at the Guy’s Hill Civic Centre, in St. Catherine, on October 12, the Minister said a ready market is available for Irish potato where farmers can make a profit.
  • The Minister commended stakeholders in the programme for their efforts to maintain a steady supply of Irish potato.

The Government is providing some $1.1 billion to assist farmers under its Irish Potato Expansion Programme, to meet a target of 1,200 hectares of production.

Support to boost the production of Irish potato will be in the form of a $48.3-million grant and more than $700 million of input, including extension services, says Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson.

Making the disclosure at an Irish Potato Production Seminar, held at the Guy’s Hill Civic Centre, in St. Catherine, on October 12, the Minister said a ready market is available for Irish potato where farmers can make a profit.

Mr. Hutchinson pointed out that farmers will be trained under the project, to include spray calibration, new planting techniques, and appropriate use of fertilisers, to coincide with the 2016-2017 crop season.

He added that there will also be demonstration plots, and training in proper land preparation, land husbandry as well as pest management.

The national potato expansion programme is part of the Government’s overall strategy to enhance Jamaica’s food and nutrition capacity, with the aim of reducing imports, becoming self-sufficient and providing more income for farmers.

Mr. Hutchinson reported that since the inception of the programme in 2008, a significant increase in the crop has been achieved, as it moved from 32 per cent in that year to 84 per cent in 2015, resulting in a reduction in the volume of imports.

“Our dream and strategic plan is to achieve full and sustained self-sufficiency, and this seminar is another step on that journey,” Mr. Hutchinson told his audience.

The Minister commended stakeholders in the programme for their efforts to maintain a steady supply of Irish potato.

They include the Promotion of Regional Opportunities for Produce through  Enterprises and Linkages (PROPEL), Newport Fersan, Agro Grace, and the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA).

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