Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, on Wednesday November 24 launched the ginger resuscitation project, which aims to boost production of the crop for the local and overseas markets, and address the rhizome rot disease that has been plaguing the industry since the mid-1990s.
Speaking at the launch held at the Bodles Research Station in St. Catherine, Dr. Tufton said that there is “considerable” global appeal for “superior quality” Jamaican ginger, and the intent is to increase yields to meet export demand and develop the value-added side of the product.
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, and Principal Research Director in the Ministry, Dr. Marcia Blair-Thomas, examine ginger seedlings during a tour of the plant nursery at the Bodles Research Station in St. Catherine on November 24, shortly after Dr. Tufton launched the ginger resuscitation project at the facility.
“It has potential of employment generation it is one of the winners that we can exploit to our benefit, and we must look at the value chain, from primary production to final consumption. We must use our creativity and expand the industry as best as we can, and start looking at the products side and we may need to partner with others,” he stated.
The three-year project is being undertaken in collaboration with the Christiana Potato Growers Cooperative Association with $12.4 million allocated for the first year.
Of the total, $6.6 million, representing joint funding, will be used to establish a nursery to produce disease-free ginger rhizomes under an integrated hydroponic, tissue culture system to supply low-price and high yielding ginger planting material to the domestic industry, which will contribute to reduction in price and production cost.
Some 31,500 square feet of greenhouse space with 4,200 tissue culture plantlets will be provided to yield at least 336,000 disease-free seeds per crop cycle. “You could produce 10 times what you are producing now, and you don’t have to worry about a market,” Dr. Tufton said.
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton (centre), enjoys a drink made with Jamaican ginger, shortly after launching the ginger resuscitation project at the Bodles Research Station in St. Catherine on November 24. Principal Research Director in the Ministry, Dr. Marcia Blair-Thomas, who also partook of the drink, enjoys a conversation with General Manager of the Christiana Potato Growers Cooperative Association, Alvin Murray.
The Ministry is providing the remaining $5.8 million for open-field production of ginger.
The project will also generate technical data and economic coefficients on the production of ginger rhizomes, and provide an avenue for training and extension in ginger production.