The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries plans to develop a comprehensive programme for effective glut management and response.
Portfolio Minister, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, speaking at his Hope Gardens office in Kingston on January 25, said the initiatives are being developed to support the $50 million Glut Management Fund established last year.
“There are initiatives (such as) cold storage and we are doing the packing houses now, which allow for better storage of produce when there is excessive supply. Post harvest management is key… we want to reach the stage where no food is wasted in Jamaica,” he said.
In the meantime, he informed that the Ministry is looking to stage another series of farmers’ markets within the next two weeks in order to address the glut in some produce.
“We are going to be ensuring, working with the respective RADA (Rural Agricultural Development Authority) parish offices and farmers that the events are better planned, better co-ordinated, that the farmers are mobilised more efficiently, that the days on which we plan the events don’t conflict with traditional market days,” he said.
Dr. Tufton pointed out that while the first staging on Friday, January 21 was a success, farmers and organisers had underestimated the strong public support. The events were held in six parishes.
The Glut Management Fund, which is being administered by Agro-Investment Corporation (Agro-Invest), seeks to address problems agro processors experience, including shortage of raw material and inability to purchase additional quantities when supplies are abundant.
The Fund, which has an interest rate below 10 per cent, provides interim financing for agro-processers to take off the excess capacity and to store supplies for use during shortages.
Agro-Invest negotiated funds from the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) Limited for on-lending to eligible borrowers.
CONTACT: CHRIS PATTERSON