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Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, the Hon. JC Hutchinson, says the 2400 acre farm to be established at Holland Estate in St. Elizabeth, will provide employment for over 900 persons.

Speaking at the 2018-2019 Irish Potato Sensitization meeting, held at the Green Valley Apostolic Church, Lewisville, New Market, St. Elizabeth on November 1, Mr. Hutchinson said the majority of those who will be selected to work on the property will be females.

“We are going to be looking at having over 900 people to work on the farm. I am just saying most are going to be women. [However], any male, any female that is interested, I am sending it out from now, get yourselves in a formal farming organization so that you can find work down at Holland when the time comes,” Mr. Hutchinson stated.

He reiterated that preparation of lands for farming at Holland Estate will start in June/July of 2019, after the final cane crop is reaped by J Wray and Nephew’s Appleton Estate. 

He further stated that his Ministry is currently putting in place “the programme, whereby we will make a steady transition for all the farmers.”

In the meantime, Mr. Hutchinson is urging small farmers in St Elizabeth to apply to take up lands at the Holland Estate.

He noted that lands will be leased to mostly small farmers, with no one person being able to secure more than 25 acres of land.

“There are many persons who want to go into agriculture, but do not have lands. Many may have a square or an acre but want more land. Holland Estate is closing and there are a number of proposals that have come in,” Mr. Hutchinson said.

“Those who are interested, we are taking applications now and I have some young people up in New Market here for them to register to come and get lands out at Holland,” he emphasized.

He also informed that the application period closes on November 10.

Mr. Hutchinson told the farmers that the Agro Economic Zone to be established on the Southern side of Holland Estate, will prevent a market glut for their produce.

He noted that the zone will consist of a complex housing storage, grading, drying, packaging, and processing facilities.