G. Raymond Chang Foundation Donates Nursery to Bauxite Institute


The Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI) is the beneficiary of a $1.7 million nursery from the G. Raymond Chang Foundation, which will be used to produce seedlings for distribution to farmers planting on reclaimed bauxite lands.
Ray Chang of G. Raymond Chang Foundation, one of the leading investors in Walkerswood, handed over the facility to JBI’s General Manager Parris A. Lyew-Ayee, at the Institute’s Hope headquarters in Kingston on Friday (Jan. 7).
The 284-square metre (3,120-square foot) nursery can hold up to 2,100 trays of 150 seedlings grown in eight-week batches and is ideal for the production of scotch bonnet pepper, West Indian pepper, red pepper, tomato, thyme, ginger, nutmeg and pimento seedlings, which research has shown, grow well on reclaimed bauxite lands.
The seedlings, one batch of which can plant up to 16 hectares (40 acres) will be supplied on a commercial basis to the farmers.
Mr. Lyew-Ayee, in his remarks at the handing over ceremony, expressed gratitude for the nursery. He noted that, “we have gone a long way since 1992 when we started to look about the use of reclaimed lands and how to do it properly. What we are trying to do is to make sure that after bauxite is mined, farmers in the areas will be able to use the land profitably and be able to have economic benefits”, he stated.
He said that concerns about identifying markets for the products were addressed with the intervention of Walkerswood, which agreed to purchase peppers and spices produced on reclaimed lands in St. Ann.
“Walkerswood stepped in and partnered with us in terms of starting that process and we are very grateful for the relationship we have had with them over the years,” he stated. Regarding the location of the nursery, Mr. Lyew-Ayee said there was good reason why it was situated in Kingston, as it would benefit from the expertise of the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Agricultural Development Authority, Inter-American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture (IICA), and the University of the West Indies. “All this expertise will help us to produce good seedlings,” he pointed out.
In his remarks, Mr. Chang said he was pleased to have made the donation. “The team that is going to use this, they are going to do all the work. I have done the easy part by making the facility available,” he said.
Richard Harrison, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, commended the G. Raymond Chang Foundation for donating the nursery and called on other corporate entities to contribute to agriculture.
He pledged the Ministry’s support for the JBI project, noting “you can rest assured that the Ministry will collaborate and cooperate with you to its fullest extent in ensuring that the bauxite community development projects achieve their objectives, and we know that this nursery is but a part.” The recovery and use of post mined land for farming is part of the Bauxite Community Development Programme, which is being implemented by the JBI.Under the project, earnings from the bauxite/alumina industry are reinvested in the development of sustainable projects in communities where mining operations exist.
WINDALCO has collaborated with Walkerswood to assist pepper farmers in St. Ann, while other bauxite companies are supporting ventures such as beef, dairy cattle and food and orchard crop production in Clarendon, Manchester,St. Elizabeth and St. Catherine.

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