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  • The Government has secured a buyer for half of the excess amount of Irish potato produced by small farmers.
  • Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Floyd Green, said the purchase of 400,000 pounds of Irish potatoes by the Clarendon-based Dencon Foods Limited is significant, as the farmers are unable to sell more than 800,000 pounds of the produce due to the downturn in hotel operations caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) across the globe.
  • He was speaking at the company’s Spring Plain facility in Clarendon, where the first segment of the produce was delivered, on April 7.

The Government has secured a buyer for half of the excess amount of Irish potato produced by small farmers.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Floyd Green, said the purchase of 400,000 pounds of Irish potatoes by the Clarendon-based Dencon Foods Limited is significant, as the farmers are unable to sell more than 800,000 pounds of the produce due to the downturn in hotel operations caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) across the globe.

He was speaking at the company’s Spring Plain facility in Clarendon, where the first segment of the produce was delivered, on April 7.

“Dencon is helping us to move at least 50 per cent of the excess, and it will be a big boost for the farmers. This is a private-sector investment to purchase the potatoes and to store them. It is a step in the right direction, and we hope that more of our private-sector partners will follow suit,” Mr. Green said.

The State Minister noted that the Government has implemented a strategic programme of supporting farmers to get into mass production of Irish potato as a means of cutting imports and meeting the demand in the local market.

He said with the excess on the market, the Government had to lead the process of ensuring that the farmers could sell and go back to producing.

“We set about to see how we could help them move that produce, and we believed that the first step would be to engage our private-sector partners, in terms of purchasing and storing the excess produce,” Mr. Green outlined.

For his part, Vice President of the company, Nicholas Duke, said the decision to purchase the potatoes is part of their mission to ensure sufficiency of agricultural produce.

He noted that when the Government reached out to them to help the small farmers, they started “by purchasing some of the most perishable produce, and we intend to go wider”.

Mr. Duke said the company has lot of space to store excess agricultural produce, as well as cold storage facilities, adding that they are also moving to partner with small farmers across the island to give them a guaranteed market for certain produce, at fixed prices.

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