JIS News

Twenty-five ginger farmers from the Riverside Extension Area in St. Catherine, who are participating in the ginger rehabilitation project, were recently presented with free planting material to begin farming their plots.
The Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) is funding the project, which is valued at some $225,000 and aimed at increasing the production of ginger that is free from rhizome rot, a root disease affecting ginger plants.
K.D. Knight, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and Member of Parliament for East Central St. Catherine, who was instrumental in sourcing funding for the project, handed over the material to the farmers at a ceremony held on April 1 at the Harkers Hall Basic School.
The ceremony was attended by the beneficiaries, community members and representatives of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), the Jamaica Agricultural Society and the DBJ. Under the programme, each farmer will establish .04 hectares of ginger and receive free planting material, fertiliser, chemicals and basic training in land preparation, pest management as well as pre-harvest and post-harvest techniques. At the end of the crop, each farmer is required to return 78 kilograms of planting materials, which will be distributed to other farmers.
Acting RADA Parish Manager, Andrew Carty, said that two training sessions have been conducted with the participants to inform them about the cultural practice of growing ginger. He said that five plots had already been prepared by the farmers in the Sligoville area and another three would be established next week.
Mr. Carty noted that another 15 plots were being prepared in Riversdale and implored farmers participating in the programme to complete their land preparation. “If you do not measure up to the requirements, then we are going to replace you,” he stated.
Minister Knight, in his address, advised the farmers to follow the instructions given by their extension officers in order to make the project a success. He told the farmers that if the rules were not adhered to, then they might not be able to reach their targets and to make the venture a profitable one.
He said that the Governmnent’s negotiations with international trade organisations were being carried out in the interest of farmers. “It doesn’t make sense that we are protecting Jamaican farmers, if Jamaican farmers are not producing. So the Jamaican farmer must understand that ..the purpose is to allow him to have an opportunity to produce, so that he can earn a good living and that the country will have food security,” the Minister stated.
On other matters, Minister Knight told the residents that rehabilitation work was proceeding on the Commodore community centre, which would be used by residents to set up income generating projects. He mentioned plans to purchase a machine for the printing of T-shirts and the setting up of an electric dehydration plant for the processing of fruit juices and preserves.

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