Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Floyd Green, says the Government’s $1.5-billion Production Incentive Programme is “bearing fruit”, with increases in several crops.
Delivering the keynote address at the virtual launch of ‘Eat Jamaican Month’, today (November 10), Mr. Green reported that for onion, production increased from 827 tonnes in 2018 to 1,821 tonnes in 2019, representing a 120 per cent increase, and the highest production since 2014.
“Of note, also, are the increases in hot pepper production and pineapple, with some 18,106 tonnes produced in 2019 as against 15,998 in 2018, and 33,938 tonnes in 2019, compared to 31,998 in 2018, respectively,” the Minister said.
He said the Ministry will continue to work “assiduously” towards achieving “our goal of producing at least 70 per cent of what we consume locally”, noting that a $10-million programme to promote backyard gardening will soon be launched with 2,500 kits.
“We will be looking to impact 2,500 households across Jamaica, and we believe that this will help not only with food security but also with appreciating why it is critical to eat Jamaican,” Mr. Green emphasised.
Meanwhile, the Minister said that the $800-million project to resuscitate Bodles Research Station in St. Catherine will continue, and other initiatives will be pursued to ensure that other research facilities are upgraded and adequate seeds are available to the sector, so that it can withstand climate change challenges.
November is designated as ‘Eat Jamaican Month’, and the Ministry is collaborating with the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) to promote the consumption of locally produced foods.
The Minister used the launch to hail farmers as “food heroes” while lauding the decision of investors to get involved in the sector, describing this as “ensuring sustained production”.
“As we celebrate Eat Jamaican Month, consumers, let us play our part. ‘Say Yes to Fresh’ as we support our farmers by eating what they grow,” Mr. Green said.