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JIS News

Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Christopher Tufton, has said that consideration is being given to the establishment of special unit, which will focus on the development of low cost greenhouses for the country’s farmers.
Dr. Tufton, who spoke to JIS News while on a tour of greenhouse facilities in Manchester and St. Elizabeth recently, said he is “totally committed to the process of revolutionizing the agriculture sector” and to facilitating the necessary transition that is needed to bring the sector into the modern era.
“I believe that once we have the expertise and the resources behind it (agriculture) as well as the technology, then we will be well on our way to satisfying the huge demand that exists in this country and which will come from the dramatic expansion of the tourism industry,” he stated.
The Minister told JIS News that the tour was geared towards getting the perspective of farmers in the southern section of the island, as to the challenges they face in the industry, and to observe the various farming methods being employed, including the use of technology.
“We went to Devon (Manchester) to look at the greenhouse model being utilized there by the Christiana Potato Growers Association and they have been doing very well and right at this point, we just finished looking at a hydroponics model here at Middlesex. I am encouraged as I think a number of things are happening that could be built on,” he informed.
He said that a major concern of farmers in St. Elizabeth is the cost of fertilizer, which has risen by more than 80 per cent during the last 10 months.
“We have done our own investigation, which indicates that the increase seems high when compared to what obtains in other Caribbean countries. We want to be satisfied that the local provider’s price is justified, so we have issued some instructions to the Fair Trading Commission for action and investigation,” he told JIS News.