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Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, has outlined a number of steps to improve food packaging and reduce post harvest loss to farmers.
“We have established a range of post harvest infrastructure across the country. This one, at Hounslow, being the most ambitious of the packing houses,” he said.
Dr Tufton was speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Hounslow Packing and Post Harvest Facility, Thursday (October 22) at Hounslow, St. Elizabeth.
He said that the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has looked at a number of post harvest facilities, and a number of projects are being worked on to improve food packaging in Jamaica.
“We are working on establishing banana ripening houses in the parishes of St. Mary, Portland and St. James. We are currently upgrading the Kingston packaging facilities, including restoring the storage house, and that is to be launched soon,” he said.
Dr. Tufton said that three pepper mash facilities will be established over the next year, and this is to facilitate the growing market for value added products in the hot pepper industry.
“We are going to be establishing, over the next year or so, three pepper mash facilities. We are looking at Clarendon, St. Mary and St. Elizabeth, because we are making a big thrust in the development of the hot pepper market for value added products, hot pepper sauces and so on,” he said.
He added that a yam packing house will soon be launched. One was initially opened in Wait-A-Bit, Trelawny.
“These are just some parts of the puzzle of infrastructure development that will help our farmers,” he explained.
The post harvest packing house facility being established at Hounslow, St. Elizabeth is part of the Improving Jamaica’s Agricultural Productivity (IJAP) project and is one of two facilities that will be in operation to facilitate post harvest in cluster locations.
IJAP is funded by grant of CDN $4.9 million from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), with counterpart funding from the Government of Jamaica through the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries to the tune of CDN$1.5 million. The Inter-American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture (IICA) is donating CDN$134,956.
The packing facilities, to be built under the IJAP project, will facilitate the marketing of crops grown in open fields and greenhouses, with the aim of reducing spoilage, over and under supply and seasonal availability of some crops.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, through its agencies including the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) and the Fisheries Division, is the implementing agency for the project, while IICA is the executing agency on behalf of CIDA.

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