- Minister without Portfolio in the Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson is calling for more local farmers to utilise organic fertilisers.
- He was speaking at a function hosted by Hardware and Lumber (H&L) Agro at its Spanish Town Road headquarters on September 13 to announce a partnership with Sapphire Agriculture Jamaica Limited for the distribution of Sapphire’s NPK-blended fertilisers on the local market.
Minister without Portfolio in the Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson is calling for more local farmers to utilise organic fertilisers.
He noted that crops grown organically fetch a higher price at market. The demand for organic produce continues to grow, with the global market estimated to value US$80 billion in 2015.
“We want to get a number of farmers directly involved in registering in organic farming, because this is where we have a niche market,” Mr. Hutchinson said.
He was speaking at a function hosted by Hardware and Lumber (H&L) Agro at its Spanish Town Road headquarters on September 13 to announce a partnership with Sapphire Agriculture Jamaica Limited for the distribution of Sapphire’s NPK-blended fertilisers on the local market.
The products include 100 per cent certified organic-matter filler.
Mr. Hutchinson welcomed the partnership between the entities, noting that the products will “promote, among other things, long-term soil fertility and improve productivity (for farmers)”.
“Through this partnership, our farmers will have access to a wide array of products, which will fulfil all the various fertiliser requirements,” he said.
He noted that Jamaica must be able to provide a consistent supply of nutritious and safe foods for its people without an over-reliance on imports. This, he said, is critical to reducing the nation’s food import bill, which now stands at more than US$800,000.
In her address, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of H&L, Olive Donner-Walsh, said her company is proud of the alliance, noting that Sapphire’s range of products will impact the profitability and productivity of the farmers.
She indicated that already some of the users of the fertilisers are recording differences in their crops.
Coffee Farmer, Gladford Brown, who has been utilising a Sapphire fertiliser on his farm, said it “has been working very well” and “I’ve seen it in the plant and berries”.
Sapphire’s Managing Director, Daniel McHugh, noted that the company is targeting the small, large and estate farmers with the fertilisers.
“Immediate benefits (to crops) will include thicker skin, brighter colours, better taste and longer shelf life. These are all the added benefits of NPK,” he pointed out.
NPK blends are types of multi-nutrient fertilisers containing some percentage of all three of the major nutrients – nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) and potassium (K). These products are intended to allow for complete fertilisation of a crop with a single application.
The raw material sources of each nutrient can vary depending on the production process of the finished fertiliser.
Sapphire Agriculture Jamaica Limited has been in operation in Jamaica since 2015 and provides a range of products that include 100 per cent certified organic inputs.