JIS News

The Ministry of Agriculture and Lands has engaged in the construction of two Greenhouses for the hydroponic production of strawberries, tomatoes and lettuce, at a cost of $2 million.
Hydroponic production refers to the process where plants are fed nutrients by a piping system, and crops are grown without soil, in a medium such as perlite, gravel or coir.
Speaking with JIS News, Chief Technical Director in the Ministry, Don McGlashan explained that the greenhouses are located in St. Andrew and Manchester.
Already completed, the greenhouse in Gardener’s Farm, St. Andrew, will grow strawberries, while in Manchester on the Rose Hill Farms, tomatoes, lettuce and strawberries will be the crops to be produced. Construction on the greenhouse in Manchester began in July.
This type of farming, known as hydroponic greenhouse production, is being pursued at this time as a way to “protect cultivation”, and to ensure consistency of production, Mr. McGlashan pointed out.
“When there is flooding, sometimes the farmer cannot get to his field, but with hydroponic greenhouse production, he is certain that he will be able to consistently supply his market, such as the hotels, which demand consistency,” he explained.
At the moment, two farmers are beneficiaries, Mr. McGlashan noted, adding that, “more will come on stream after investigations have been done”.
He said that previously, “protected cultivation”, using greenhouses, has benefited the Christiana Potato Growers Association and the Elim group of young farmers, just to name a few, and pointed out that some greenhouses use hydroponics, while others do not.
The St. Andrew hydroponic greenhouse will begin harvesting strawberries in eight weeks and the Rose Hill Farms Greenhouse will begin harvesting in September.
“Rose Hill will be harvesting 25 kilogrammes of strawberries per week, with a yield of approximately 23 kilogrammes from 3,000 plants. This is twice the amount that could be grown in the open, traditional field,” Mr. McGlashan noted.