JIS News

Agriculture and Lands Minister, Roger Clarke has encouraged farmers to get into ackee farming, noting that foreign exchange earnings from ackee production have reached some US$30 million.
“There is money to be made from ackee. The Diaspora is making strong demand for the fruit and tourists, who have visited the island and tasted the national dish, are also demanding it when they return home,” the Minister told JIS News at the Ackee Festival held on Tuesday (August 1) on the grounds of the Dinthill Technical High School in Linstead, St. Catherine. It was the second staging of the event organised by the Linstead Area Development Committee.
He noted that since 1998, the Ministry of Agriculture has been working to develop ackee orchards with some hundreds of hectares now under cultivation. He informed that planting materials were being provided by the Bodles Agricultural Research Station in Old Harbour.
Turning to the recent refusal of several cases of processed ackee by the United States, due to the high levels of the toxin, hypoglycin found in the product, Mr. Clarke said that the Ministry has been working closely with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Jamaica Exporters Association (JEA) and the University of the West Indies (UWI), to ensure that processors followed the regulations.
“Working with all these bodies and scientific experts has been quite productive and we expect that by mid-September, the exports of ackee should be back on track, and resume to the United States,” he said.