JIS News

Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Christopher Tufton has announced an increase local banana production, this in the aftermath of damage to the industry by hurricane Dean last year.
The Minister, who was speaking at the launch of a campaign, to promote the consumption of local bananas, at the 2008 Denbigh Agricultural and Industrial Show over the weekend, said the industry, which had some 90% of its crops wiped out, has seen an 85 percent restoration in cultivation.
“The Government stepped in and we provided critical support, including financing to the sector, to ensure that production got started in a timely manner. As a result, we are now at the stage where well over 85% of the banana fields are up in full production. We feel proud about that, because, as a consequence of the involvement of the Government, working with the farmers in the communities, we have secured the livelihood of many farmers and the wellbeing of many communities,” Dr. Tufton stated.
He pointed out that Jamaica has many options to imported food, adding that the consumption of local bananas is one that needs to be promoted.
“The banana industry is a critical component of the local options that we would like Jamaicans to support and promote. We believe that the local options that we have here in Jamaica, more often than not, represent better, healthier, and fresher options to the other alternatives that we tend to support, which include importation of food stuff. Not only is the banana a nutritious fruit, it contributes significantly to many communities throughout Jamaica, because of the thousands of farmers who are involved in the production and cultivation of this popular fruit,” the Minister said.