2006 a Good Year for Agriculture – Clarke

Minister of Agriculture and Lands, Roger Clarke, has said that 2006 was a good one for agriculture with production increasing by 20 per cent over 2005 levels.
“God blessed us with a good season and we have moved tremendously upwards in terms of production,” Minister Clarke said as he addressed the opening of the 17th annual Montpelier Agricultural and Industrial Show in St. James on April 9.
He pointed to improvements in non-traditional areas such as sheep, goat and pig rearing, in which new breeds were imported to improve the local stock, and honey and egg production.
“In terms of egg production, we are now self sufficient in the production of eggs in this country. Just last week we commissioned a liquid egg plant so that no hotel will ever be able to bring liquid eggs into Jamaica. We are going to produce all of that right here in Jamaica,” he stated.
Turning to the honey sector, the Agriculture Minister said that production was “moving by leaps and bounds” in the western end of the island and informed of an order “for some 300 tons of honey from Jamaica going into Europe.”
“We have just completed a new honey bottling plant, which will give the farmers an opportunity to bottle their honey and to sell it in a kind of way that makes their product look attractive,” he pointed out.
In terms of the future of the agricultural industry, Minister Clarke said that there were challenging times ahead, but expressed optimism that the influx of Spanish investment in the tourism sector would present an opportunity for farmers to increase production, to feed the expected increase in the number of visitors to the island.
He announced that discussions were being held with the Spanish Ambassador to Jamaica, Jesus Silva, with a view to securing assistance to expand the use of greenhouse technology in the island.
He said that every effort would be made to provide farmers with access to the technology to increase agricultural production and improve the competitiveness of the sector.

JIS Social