Farmers in Portland Benefit from EJAS Project


Approximately 7,000 farmers in Portland have benefited from the Eastern Jamaica Agricultural Support Programme (EJASP), since its inception in 2000.
Janet Lawrence, marketing advisor for EJASP, told JIS News that $109 million has been spent so far, to promote various agricultural ventures throughout the parish.
EJASP is funded by the European Union, and its major objective is to provide material and technical support to farmers in St. Mary, Portland, St. Thomas and St. Andrew, for the purpose of increasing and diversifying agricultural production in those parishes.
Mrs. Lawrence informed that 6,844 farmers in the project parishes have been assisted to start ventures such as goat rearing, yam production, vegetable and pepper cultivation, ginger and coffee production and bee keeping.
She said that each project was operated by a group of farmers and EJASP worked closely with the groups to ensure that they were able to access markets for their products and to provide them with the necessary training and technology to improve production.
Among technology introduced was mini set yam production, while GraceKennedy and Walkers Wood Caribbean Food Limited are among buyers of the products.
In terms of the goat rearing projects, Mrs. Lawrence said that most were being successfully operated although there was a need for improvement in others.
There are six goat projects in Portland and through them, EJASP supplies farmers with Nubian goats for cross breeding with local varieties, in order to increase the supply of local goat meat.
Over 900 kids have been produced under the project over the five-year period, with the most successful projects in Stony Hill, St. Andrew and Nonsuch in Portland.
Mrs. Lawrence encouraged the goat farmers to cooperate with EJASP and combine their efforts to ensure the success of the projects, noting that the extensive local market for goat meat would guarantee them huge returns.

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