JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Government’s $1 billion investment in the development of agro-parks is bearing dividends, with over 1.2 million pounds of produce reaped so far from seven parks.
  • The produce includes: yams, potatoes, melons, pumpkins, ginger, onions, and other condiments, and vegetables.
  • External partners include the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which is committing $620 million; and the European Union (EU), which is providing $427 million.

The Government’s $1 billion investment in the development of agro-parks is bearing dividends, with over 1.2 million pounds of produce reaped so far from seven parks.

Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Roger Clarke made this declaration on Wednesday, June 17, at the signing ceremony for five related contracts at the Ministry’s offices at Hope Gardens in St. Andrew.

The produce includes: yams, potatoes, melons, pumpkins, ginger, onions, and other condiments, and vegetables.

External partners include the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which is committing $620 million; and the European Union (EU), which is providing $427 million.

Mr. Clarke said the administration recognises and acknowledges that if the economy is to make the “quantum leap” required to secure growth, then the agricultural sector has to be organised on a more sustainable basis.

This, he contended, includes addressing all the key inputs, including infrastructure, production, technical and market support, and valued-added outputs.

“The agro-park model is intended to do just that. It involves the role of Government, the farmer/investor, technical staff, marketers, and buyers, and the provision of infrastructure, inputs, and capital,” Mr. Clarke stated.

The IDB’s Financial Management Specialist in Jamaica, Graham Williams, who also spoke at the ceremony, said the Bank is proud to support projects that will accelerate agricultural growth that ultimately enhances food security, and increases incomes for rural residents, while reducing poverty.

“We are also keen to continue working closely with the Government of Jamaica and stakeholders to ensure the successful implementation and long term sustainability of this programme while leveraging technical expertise to support initiatives to develop Jamaica’s agricultural sector. Moreover, we remain dedicated to supporting Jamaica achieve its long term development goals in line with priority areas identified by the Government,” Mr. Wallace said.

Four contracts were signed at the ceremony to carry out infrastructure works, valued at approximately $501.6 million, at three of the island’s agro-parks over the next 12 months. The projects are being conducted under the Ministry’s Agricultural Competitiveness Programme (ACP), which is funded IDB.

The facilities include those at: Spring Plain/Ebony Park, Clarendon; New Forest/Duff House, Manchester; and Yallahs, St. Thomas where construction of storm water channels and access roads will be undertaken.

Additionally, a packaging facility is to be built at New Forrest/Duff House; while irrigation pipes and fittings are to be installed at Spring Plain/Ebony Park.

Under the three year agro-parks initiative, which started in 2012, over 8,000 acres of prime agricultural lands are being targeted for cultivation at nine such facilities island wide, through a partnership involving the government, private sector interests, and farmers.