JIS News

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  • The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries is looking to ramp up production at the agro parks, and increase greenhouse farming and aquaculture, as part of measures to combat drought and reduce food imports.
  • Acting Portfolio Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier, stated that the agro parks still have additional lands to be engaged, “and we are working assiduously with our farmers in the parks to ensure that every square inch of land is utilized.”
  • An audit of available unutilized greenhouse capacity in the country is being conducted.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries is looking to ramp up production at the agro parks, and increase greenhouse farming and aquaculture, as part of measures to combat drought and reduce food imports.

Acting Portfolio Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier, stated that the agro parks still have additional lands to be engaged, “and we are working assiduously with our farmers in the parks to ensure that every square inch of land is utilized.”

In addition, he said, an audit of available unutilized greenhouse capacity in the country is being conducted, with a view to working with greenhouse farmers to maximize production. Also, Government intends to utilize all the idle capacity in the aquaculture sector.

Minister Kellier, who was addressing the recent opening of the Bethel Town Sorrel Processing Plant in Westmoreland, said the alternative to importing food continues to be the ramping up of production in areas with adequate rainfall as well as those regions served by irrigation systems.

“Between full utilization of our agro parks, our greenhouse capacity, and greater production in areas with adequate rainfall, I am confident that we will ride out this drought,” he stated.

Minister Kellier, in the meantime, reiterated that there is an adequate supply of food to feed the nation.

He said while vegetable production has not reached pre-drought levels, enough supply is available and this has resulted in food imports being kept in check.

“(Food) imports have not proven to be a good solution as, of the 140,000 kilograms of permits we have issued for the importation of vegetables, only 20,000 kilograms have been brought in. This is indicating that the sources from which we import also have supply issues,” he stated.