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Some 500 farmers in and around the Accompong area of St. Elizabeth are to benefit from a Green House project, set up through a US$50,000 grant by the Global Environmental Fund (GEF).

The project has two components, including the establishment of a nursery for lumber and fruit trees, with the planting of at least 10,000 trees over 18 months; and an orchid sanctuary. Both ventures will be operated on a commercial basis.

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To support them, a plant tissue culture unit will be established. Additionally, the facility will be used to produce disease free planting material to farmers at competitive prices.

The project was facilitated by the Social Development Commission (SDC) and is managed by the Accompong Maroon Council.

Speaking at an SDC parish forum on March 11, at the St. Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS), Parish Manager for the agency, Geoffrey Mendez, informed that if the venture proved successful, the GEF will provide more funding to expand the project.

The Parish Manager commended the Community Development Officer (CDO), Prince Waite, for his work and training of the community participants, to ensure that they met the requirements for the granting of the fund.

“Mr. Waite wrote the proposal, and was the link between the Maroon Council and the Global Environmental Fund,” he noted.

“Some five hundred farmers will benefit. They are small farmers who plant banana and yam, and the income from those was minimal. So, this is a big boost for the area,” Mr. Mendez said.

He also reported that the SDC has secured a market for some 75 peanut farmers to supply a peanut processing plant in Warminster, in the parish.

By Garfield L. Angus, JIS Reporter