- The Government has budgeted over $172 million for the revitalising of the banana industry in the 2015/16 fiscal year.
- The project, which commenced in September 2013, and is slated to run until March 2017, is being funded by the European Union (EU).
- It aims to combat poverty and improve revenues in communities dependent on banana production.
The Government has budgeted over $172 million for the revitalising of the banana industry in the 2015/16 fiscal year.
Some 381 hectares of the fruit will be planted and support services provided to farmers by the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), under the Jamaica Accompanying Measures (JBAMS) project.
The project, which commenced in September 2013, and is slated to run until March 2017, is being funded by the European Union (EU).
It aims to combat poverty and improve revenues in communities dependent on banana production.
Several improvement activities will be undertaken in the new fiscal year to ensure increased production and marketability of the produce.
Increased support will be provided to develop export banana, and provide on-farm infrastructure support, implementation of new credit scheme to support banana production, and the continued development of new market opportunities for banana farmers.
Also to be undertaken are construction and commencement of operation of a new banana value-added facility in Trinity, St. Mary.
Some $50 million of the project amount has been earmarked for implementation of banana awareness and promotion campaigns, commissioning of an islandwide banana on-farm spray programme, and strengthening of five banana production clusters.
Also to be implemented are the construction and putting into operation of a banana tissue laboratory, expansion of banana planting material in nurseries, and the commencement of Fair Trade Certification for export of the fruit.
Up to the end of December 2014, the project enabled the increase of banana production by 21.7 per cent; construction of two new high quality and disease resistant planting nurseries; and provision of technical support and training to 1,400 banana and plantain farmers via farm visits, soil and leaf sampling, and testing, to control the Black Sigatoka bug.
Also undertaken was development of a banana value-added manual, construction and relocations tanks in areas of banana farming, and provision of equipment and containers to farming groups.
A wed-based banana and plantain database was developed, and 23 district branches formed in traditional banana parishes, while the Scientific Research Council (SRC) was contracted to supply tissue culture seedlings to the sector.