JIS News

The Government is looking to diversify economic activity in the principal banana growing parishes of St. Thomas and St. Mary, to mitigate the fallout from the damage to the industry caused by Hurricane Dean and to increase employment.
Agriculture Minister, Dr. Christopher Tufton, in a statement in the House of Representatives on (Nov. 27), informed that Cabinet has approved the commissioning of a land use study to examine the feasibility of growing crops, other than banana, in the two parishes. The study is a joint initiative of the Ministry and Jamaica Producers.
“Within this mix, we will be looking at the establishment of a greenhouse cluster in these areas, which will not only target the growing of crops in the greenhouse, but the establishment of cold storage and packaging facilities linked directly to the hotel sector,” Dr. Tufton explained.
The move, he said will “contribute to diversification, increased employment, raise productivity levels and improve incomes.”
In the meantime, the Agriculture Minister said that an additional 500 acres of land will be sublet by Jamaica Producers to Fred Jones Limited, to expand sugarcane production in St. Thomas.
Fred Jones Limited is the single biggest sugarcane producer in Jamaica outside of the sugar estates. “This initiative will create employment for approximately 200 individuals in St. Thomas. The St. Thomas Sugar Factory in Duckensfield will be appropriately improved to take on this additional cane,” Dr. Tufton told the House.
He also informed that all the agencies of the Ministry are working closely with the farmers, investors and all the stakeholders, to ensure the restoration of export banana.

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