JIS News

President of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), Senator Norman Grant, has called on farmers to get into the production of West Indies Sea Island cotton, as there were significant benefits to be derived from the crop.
Senator Grant, who was speaking at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) and the Jamaica Agricultural Development Foundation (JADF) last Friday (Oct. 13), at the JAS’ boardroom downtown Kingston, said that West Indian Sea Island cotton was one of Jamaica’s most prized natural resources.
“Being the highest priced cotton, the West Indian Sea cotton is sold at US$10 per pound of lint.with export markets in Japan, the United States and Switzerland. Current market demand for lint is estimated at $3 million tonnes per year with Japan demanding over 2 million tonnes,” he informed.
Senator Grant noted further that, “the potential for this non-traditional crop is simply tremendous. It is a goldmine, it is a sleeping giant, and it is a sector that has awesome potential to help transform not only rural communities through the generation of jobs, but also be a critical foreign exchange earner for the economy”.
There are about 17 farmers growing Sea Island cotton in the parishes of Clarendon, St. Catherine, Portland and St. Mary. Senator Grant noted that special efforts are being made to expand the cotton industry.
He informed that the JAS intended to identify farmers, who could grow 100 acres of the product “as we see the need to have Jamaica become the centre of this cotton industry.”
Under the MoU, the JAS and the JADF will collaborate to provide the government with guidelines on policy initiatives to expand the production of West Indian Sea Island cotton in Jamaica.
In addition, representatives of the JADF and JAS will meet regularly to ensure a continuous sharing of information for the development of the farming community.