Ebony Park Farmers Recover from Hurricane Dean


The Ebony Park Production Crop project in Toll Gate Clarendon has sold over $3.8 million worth of various produce from six of its 35 farmers during January and February.
President of the Ebony Park Farmers Association, Fitz Shaw told JIS News that he was pleased with the speed with which the farming project has recovered from the devastation caused by Hurricane Dean.
“It is amazing to see how we have moved from where Dean had put us. If everything continues on the same path, we would be well on our way to fulfill the Ministry of Agriculture’s requirements before the stipulated time. They require us to be profitable in three years, while some of the farmers here are young, a number of us are quite experienced in farming. The Association provides the farmers with training; not only farming techniques but in marketing and management, and I believe that our ongoing emphasis on management has helped us to recover in the short time,” Mr. Shaw explained.
The project was approved by the Ministry of Agriculture in 2006 and production started in mid 2007. It is supervised through the Agriculture Support Service Programme (ASSP) of the Ministry and was given a grant of US$411,000 while the farmers put up US$112,000 in labour and cash.
Mr. Shaw outlined that the project consists of 35 farmers, each occupying five-acre plots of land. They are engaged in the production of hot peppers, water melons, sweet potatoes, cucumbers and pumpkins. The group is a registered Providence Society.
“The equipment that we use is owned by the Association and each farmer is required to pay a monthly fee in order for them to have access to them. We don’t plant the same things at the same time, we have a six-month cycle to every crop that we produce. At present some farmers are reaping and some are clearing lands to plant. Those who plant now will reap in July (and) after that we have to wait until the hurricane season is passed before we go into production,” he outlined. A farm manager is assigned on a three-year tenure by the Ministry to work with the project, and the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), assists with training and supervision.

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