JIS News

A total of 224 farmers have already registered to participate in the agro-economic zone being established at Holland Estate, St. Elizabeth.

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. JC Hutchinson, told JIS News that the crops to be cultivated along with other needs have been identified under the project, which is being implemented by the Agro Investment Corporation (AIC).

He noted that the AIC will be meeting with all the farmers within another three weeks “to outline how they are going to be moving forward with the project.”

He said that the property is expected to be handed over at the end of June, once the outgoing owners have completed the reaping of crops.

The 2,400-acre agro-economic zone will comprise farms as well as packaging and processing facilities. The project is expected to provide jobs for over 900 persons.

Produce, when reaped, will be graded and distributed, with Grade ‘A’ produce to go to hotels and the export market; Grade ‘B’ to the local market; while Grade ‘C’ produce will be used for purées, juices and other value-added items.

“We have an investor, who is looking to set up a complex to do the full grading, packaging, processing and marketing,” Minister Hutchinson told JIS News.

He said that the property will be secure. “The entire property will be fenced and current gaps in fencing will be repaired. Also, for every exit and entrance, AIC is going to be putting up (security) cameras and on top of that, we will be having a drone that will be monitoring the place,” he noted.