Further research and development of fruits and vegetables will be facilitated under the Centre of Excellence for Advanced Technology in Agriculture (CEATA), with the construction of two new greenhouses, this financial year.
The greenhouses, one of which will be located at Coleyville, Manchester and the other at Elim, in St. Elizabeth, are being constructed with funding from the Spanish Agency for International Co-operation for Development, as outlined in the 2012/2013 Estimates of Expenditure.
A total of $33.2 million has been set aside to carry out this activity, as well as for the repair of lodging facilities for greenhouse technicians at the Sydney Pagon Agricultural High School in St. Elizabeth. The funds will also be used to continue the training programme for agronomists, extension officers, technicians and greenhouse owners from selected Caribbean countries.
The project, which is being implemented by the Government of Jamaica, has the overall objective to increase the competitiveness of agricultural production in order to meet local demand for quality fruits and vegetables, and to enable private initiatives for the export of these food items in the future.
The goal is to implement the appropriate technology adapted to specific agro-climatic and social factors, to develop education, training and research and development programmes, so as to increase the productivity of fruits and vegetables.
Up to February 2012, under the initiative, four training sessions on Irish potato production were convened; three manuals on soil health, Irish potato production and soil fertility/crop nutrients were produced; and a three-week seminar on greenhouse technology was held for agronomists, extension officers and technicians from selected Caribbean countries.
By Alecia Smith-Edwards, JIS Reporter