JIS News

The pending 30 per cent increase in the price of fertilizer that was announced by Newport Fersan, the sole manufacturer of the product in Jamaica, has been put on hold.
In January, the Government, in a bid to control the spiralling price of the commodity, allocated a $70 million fertilizer subsidy to the sector. The grant allowed farmers across the island to benefit from a 10 per cent reduction in the price of all grades of fertilizer, including special blends.
In an interview with JIS News, Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Christopher Tufton explained that following a meeting with officials of Newport Fersan, it was decided that the 30 per cent increase would no longer take effect, as the Government would continue to subsidize the increase in the price of the commodity until the end of March.
The Minister, however, pointed out that the Government would continue to explore a number of options in order to cushion the impact of the increased prices on the farming community.
Mr. Tufton explained that in a quest to identify cheaper inputs, a bilateral agreement between the island and a major player in the industry, Venezuela, is being worked on as that country is a large supplier and manufacturer of the requisite raw material for the production of the finished product.
Additionally, he informed that the Ministry is now looking at encouraging and promoting the use of organic farming and hence the use of organic fertilizer.
Newport Fersan, which utilized less than half of the subsidy amount, announced at the end of February a 30 per cent increase in the price of the finished product. This increase was based on a hike in the cost of raw material on the international market. Fertilizer, which is currently in high demand by farmers, currently retails for between $2,200 and $2,600 per bag.

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