JIS News

Cocoa growers will receive a $200 per box increase in the price paid to them by the Cocoa Industry Board, effective October this year, moving the price from $1,000 to $1,200 per box.
This was announced by Minister of Agriculture and Lands, Roger Clarke during his address to cocoa farmers at the 12th Annual General Meeting of the St. Catherine Cocoa Growers Co-operative Society Limited, held yesterday (June 20) at the Rose Hall 4-H Training Centre, St. Catherine.
The increase follows a 100 per cent raise granted to the farmers last year, which moved the price from $500 to $1,000 per box. According to the Minister, this was necessary to “shock” the industry into revival and boost production levels.
He pointed out that the increase had the desired effect, with the production level improving by 200 per cent, moving from 200 tonnes to 600 tonnes. He pointed out that the 200 tonnes fetched some $15 million for the farmers, while the increased production was earning some $78 million to date.
Minister Clarke said that there would be further benefits if production levels continued to rise. The Minister said that since Jamaica was receiving a good price for its premium cocoa on the international market, it was important for farmers to begin integrating young people into the venture, so as to improve rural development.
He challenged the farmers to exercise good farming practices. “Not only must we reap all the cocoa on the trees, but we have to make sure that the rat bait is in place, proper fertilising is in place, pruning is in place and all that is needed to lift production. That is the way you’re going to make money,” Mr. Clarke emphasised.
Addressing the concern raised by farmers about the poor state of some farm roads, the Minister Clarke noted that Government had allocated some $100 million towards the fixing of roads. He added that the Ministry would have to find creative ways of dealing with the matter, since the money was not enough.

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