JIS News

The use of greenhouse technology and hydrophonic production should receive a major boost, as a team from Spain is currently in the island carrying out evaluations of the current technologies, with a view to assisting the country to develop and promote their use.
The Spanish government has agreed to implement a programme to finance consultative missions, the training of farmers and the establishment of pilot projects in the island.
Spanish Ambassador to Jamaica, Jesus Silva met with Agriculture Minister, Dr. Christopher Tufton, yesterday (Sept. 28), at the Embassy of Spain in Kingston, to conclude discussions about the assistance, which will also assist the fisheries sector.
“We have spoken to the Minister and his team about the possibility of helping and bringing technical personnel to try to share the experiences in these fields and even the possibility of implementing some pilot projects in the country,” Mr. Silva informed.
Meanwhile, Dr. Tufton noted that with the inflow of Spanish investment within the tourism sector and the expected increase in visitor arrivals from that country, the assistance for the development of the agriculture and fishing industries are welcomed at this time.
“We think that agriculture for us is important. We are also sensitive to the fact that we need to be a lot more productive and consistent, both in quantity, quality of output and timeliness. Spain has a track record of being good in agriculture and consistent in the use of technology and we want to get to that stage in the interest of the country,” he explained.
He further noted that the project would seek to boost productivity in agriculture, while finding appropriate markets for the produce. This, he said, would ensure that farmers would be better paid and their well-being secured.
“In order for us to do that, we are trying to understand and co-ordinate the critical activities to ensure that farming does not start and stop with the farmer, but goes all the way to the consumer. We are providing assistance to farmers on our own, as well as collaborating with countries like Spain to ensure that we work with the technologies that are available,” he said.
The Minister pointed out that Spain would provide expertise to Jamaica, in addition to training for persons locally, in the use of the technology.
“We will have to use our local people. we intend to recruit others later on and we will bring them to the point where they can demonstrate the level of expertise that the Spanish are now demonstrating. This is the final objective of the relationship that we have established,” the Minister pointed outHe stressed that farmers must develop the capacity to satisfy local demand at the highest possible standards, which could be done by evaluating and replicating what was available elsewhere.
The assistance by the Spanish government will be funded from a US$1 million allocation for agricultural development in the region.

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