JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Some 514 Jamaican farm workers will leave the island next month for Washington, D.C., to work on the Gebbers Farms, under the Overseas Employment Programme.
  • The Gebbers Farms are among the largest holdings in the United States, with over 5,000 acres of apples and more than 2,000 acres of cherry.
  • The owners are also looking to expand their operations, which would see more Jamaicans being employed there.

Some 514 Jamaican farm workers will leave the island next month for Washington, to work on the Gebbers Farms, under the Overseas Employment Programme.

The Gebbers Farms are among the largest holdings in the United States, with over 5,000 acres of apples and more than 2,000 acres of cherry.

The owners are also looking to expand their operations, which would see more Jamaicans being employed there.

“They have assured us that in another two years they would be able to take even more workers. It is a programme where we would see incremental increases,” says Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Shahine Robinson.

The Minister was speaking with JIS News, following a visit and cheque presentation by the United States Employers, at the Ministry’s North Street Offices, today (April 27).

The owners of Gebbers Farms, Robert and Katherine Grandy, symbolically handed over a cheque valued at $250,000 (US$2,500) towards a Jamaican Charitable Organisation.

Mrs. Robinson pointed out that the United States employers were fulsome in their praise for the Jamaican workers.

For his part, Mr. Grandy also highlighted the possibility of employing more Jamaicans.

“Part of what makes this work is additional housing and we are in a growth spurt, and planting and housing will have to catch up with it, as we are going to have a lot more acres to harvest. I think within the next two years, we will be looking at bringing in more workers from Jamaica,” he noted.

Mr. Grandy said that Jamaican workers’ attitude towards the job is always “very professional.”

“These are not unskilled workers. You have to understand how to pick fruit properly; what to do on an orchard and it takes time and experience and they gain that experience by coming back year after year. They approach it very professionally and they take a lot of pride in their work,” he added.

Gebbers Farms became involved in the overseas employment programme in 2010, and took approximately 300 workers in that year. Since then, they have recruited additional workers every year.