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  • The establishment of the agro parks by the Government has turned around food production in the country and has put farmers in a position to reap high yields and increase their earnings.
  • Acting Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Derrick Kellier, made the pronouncement as he addressed Sunday’s, August 2, session of the Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show in May Pen, Clarendon.
  • Minister Kellier said that while the parks are still in the “early days” of their operations, the results so far are impressive.

The establishment of the agro parks by the Government has turned around food production in the country and has put farmers in a position to reap high yields and increase their earnings.

Acting Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Derrick Kellier, made the pronouncement as he addressed Sunday’s, August 2, session of the  Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show in May Pen, Clarendon.

“It is truly a joy to witness the transformational effect that this strategic approach to agricultural production is having,” he stated.

Minister Kellier said that while the parks are still in the “early days” of their operations, the results so far are impressive, noting that “the development of this revolutionary approach to agricultural production in Jamaica” will continue to be supported by the Government.

He informed that 381 tonnes of domestic crops as well as eight tonnes of fresh water fish were produced by seven of the parks during the first quarter of 2014.

At the Yallahs Agro Park in St. Thomas, which the Minister toured last week, over 133,000 kilograms of onions have been produced from 22.5 acres. “The farmers are so pleased with the success of that venture that they have signed up to double the acreage engaged last year,” he stated.

He informed that “impressive (crops) of vegetables and condiments” have been reaped at the New Forrest/Duff House facility in Manchester/St. Elizabeth, while at Hill Run in St. Catherine, fish ponds have been established, covering 32 acres, and tenders will be out by month-end for the construction of a new irrigation system to support fish production.

In addition, he said, the Ministry will be investing $48.4 million in the Westmoreland-based Meylersfield Agro Park, for aquaculture production, and the construction of an agro-processing plant.

He said that plans are advanced for the establishment of an agro park at Nonsuch/Unity in St. Mary for the production of fruit tree crops, while infrastructure works valued at over $500 million are in progress at Spring Plain and Ebony Park, Clarendon; Yallahs, and New Forrest/Duff House.

“We expect that by the time we would have completed the infrastructure, the output from the parks would have been significantly multiplied,” Minister Kellier stated.

Some 5,000 persons are expected to benefit directly and indirectly from the nine agro parks that are to be established across the island. The project is expected to reduce imports of targeted crops and realize foreign exchange savings of $4 billion when fully operational.