JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Roger Clarke, has successfully mediated between yam farmers and exporters for a price increase, with the farmers to receive $40 per pound, up from the previous $35.
  • Due to a glut on the yam market, some farmers had tried to sell at a low price to get rid of their produce.
  • The Minister reiterated the need for more value-added products to come from the sector, as that could result in increased earnings for the farmers.

Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Roger Clarke, has successfully mediated between yam farmers and exporters for a price increase, with the farmers to receive $40 per pound, up from the previous $35.

“The exporters have decided that they will pay forty dollars, for now, and the farmers who were at the meeting seemed satisfied,” the Minister told JIS News, following the meeting held last week at the Ministry.

Mr. Clarke noted that due to a glut on the yam market, some farmers had tried to sell at a low price to get rid of their produce, and based on complaints that came to him from some farmers, he brought the two groups together to reach an agreement until stability returns to the industry.

Yam farmer in Wait-A-Bit, Trelawny, Marcia McLean, and another from Christiana, Manchester, Easton Bailey, told JIS News that they can “live” with the new yam price.

Meanwhile, the Minister said the exporters indicated that there has been a drop in the price they are getting, and there is also stiff competition on the ground, which caused some of the farmers to get lower prices.

He also reiterated the need for more value-added products to come from the sector, as that could result in increased earnings for the farmers. due to a glut on the yam market, some farmers had tried to sell at a low price to get rid of their produce He added that the Scientific Research Council (SRC) is on board for the development of the yam industry.

“We want to see how much value-added we can get. One farmer, who came here, brought yam flour that he made, using solar, not machine.  If we can have Irish potato powder, you should be able to have yellow yam powder,” the Minister emphasized.

On another matter, Mr. Clarke said the United States authorities have given Jamaica the go ahead to export mangoes to that country, so there is an investment opportunity for the setting up of a hot wash plant, through which the mangoes must go before being exported.

“We are looking to find an investor to put up that plant.  If we are able to export mangoes into the US, there would be no competition. What we see there is not the same quality of mangoes we have here,” the Minister said.