JIS News

Prime Minister Bruce Golding, has announced that 25,000 tonnes of fertilizer will be imported from Venezuela within the next 60 days, which will be available to local farmers at significantly reduced prices.
“We have found a source of fertilizer that will enable us to land it here, and get it into the hands of the farmers at a substantially reduced price, when compared to the price that farmers are now having to pay. We recently secured an arrangement with Venezuela for us to import urea, one of the chief ingredients in fertilizer, at a 40 per cent discount,” Mr. Golding informed.
The Prime Minister made the announcement yesterday (August 3), at the Annual Denbigh Agricultural and Industrial Show in Clarendon.
Mr. Golding pointed out that the fertilizer would be in the country and in the hands of the farmers by the end of September.
“It is going to take us approximately 60 days for the shipment to arrive and therefore we expect the fertilizer to be in the island and ready for distribution by the end of next month,” he added.
The Prime Minister argued that the exorbitant price of fertilizer had been a great hindrance to farmers, as the commodity had seen extraordinary increases over the past several months.
He noted that since he assumed office in September last year, the price of fertilizer had increased from approximately $2,500 to $7,000 per bag, even after the removal of the five percent import duty on inputs. This has had an adverse effect on agricultural production, as most farmers are unable to procure this necessity in sufficient quantities at these prices, he said.
“It is the Government that will be importing the fertilizer. An order will be placed for 25,000 tonnes, which will include the seven most popular brands that are used by farmers in Jamaica. The fertilizer will be made available through the regular distributors. We are not going to take over the market,” Mr. Golding stressed.
He expressed confidence that even after allowances have been made for distributors’ and retailers’ mark up, this necessary input would still be affordable to farmers.
“Even after allowance is made for the distributors’ and retailers’ mark up, we are satisfied that the farmer will be able to buy a bag of fertilizer at a significantly reduced price. Therefore, I say to the farmers, I know you have been battered by high fertilizer prices, I know the difficulty you have had when you see the plant begging for fertilizer, but the pocket cannot stretch to buy the fertilizer. I say to the farmer, be not discouraged, help is on the way,” he assured.
The 56th staging of the Annual Denbigh Agricultural and Industrial Show came to an end on Sunday, August 3. The three-day event was well supported by patrons from all sections of the island.
The parish of Westmoreland copped the top awards – the Rudolph Burke Trophy, the Denvor Thorpe Trophy and the Percy Broderick Trophy – and was adjudged the best overall performer.