Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw, says 2000 drip irrigation systems will be distributed to small farmers across the island.
He said the systems will provide farmers with access to irrigation for planting and ensure that the agriculture sector continues to grow, despite the shift in rainfall pattern due to climate change.
The Minster was speaking during a tour of Gary Coulton’s farm at the Spring Plain Agro Park in Clarendon on Friday (June 5).
Mr. Shaw, along with a team from the Ministry and personnel from the Agro Investment Corporation (AIC), had visited the farm to witness the reaping and packaging of West Indian red pepper.
The farm supplies some 10,000 pounds of produce weekly to GraceKennedy Foods, which manufactures and distributes a range of food items to consumers in Jamaica, the wider Caribbean and across the Diaspora.
“This project symbolises exactly what can be replicated across the country in a range of other crops,” Minister Shaw said.
He pointed to the need to get more idle lands into production in order to ensure adequate food supply to feed locals and visitors coming into the country, access the duty-free arrangement within CARICOM, and also supply the Diaspora.
Meanwhile, Minister Shaw said that the future of agriculture in Jamaica lies in the application of technology to maximize value-added production.
“The way that agriculture has to move is not just to grow things and sell them fresh. It is a vertical integration into agro-processing as part of a major programme for wealth creation in Jamaica,” he said.