JIS News

Ground has been broken at the site of the post harvest packing house facility being established by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries in Hounslow, St. Elizabeth.
The facility, which is part of the Improving Jamaica Agricultural Productivity (IJAP) project, is one of two that will facilitate post harvest crops in cluster locations.
In giving an overview of the IJAP project at the groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday (October 22), Inter-American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture (IICA) representative, Cynthia Currie, explained that it is a 3-year project, scheduled to end in 2011, which has two main components: sustainable modern marine fisheries management; and modernisation of the greenhouse subsector.
She said that it is helping to develop two greenhouse clusters, comprising 20 farmers each, spread across the southern and central parishes of St. Elizabeth, Manchester, St.Ann, Trelawny and Clarendon.
“In addition to the greenhouses, we will be constructing two packing houses that will help to ease the burden of marketing and distribution of fresh produce across the island. Construction of this one, in Hounslow, will start in November, and we expect it to be finished within six months,” she said.
Mrs. Currie said that the fisheries component will include the rehabilitation of six fishing beaches along the south coast, resuscitation of fish and lobster stock and capacity building for fisherfolk.
Canada’s High Commissioner to Jamaica, His Excellency Stephen Hallihan, said his country’s contribution to the IJAP project is a long term response to the threat to Jamaica’s food supply.
“Given the importance of agriculture, to both food security and employment, it was felt this was the best use of scare resources. Hence, it is our willingness to accept IICA’s proposal that has brought us here, breaking ground for what we expect to be a most exciting initiative, and contributing not only to the productive capacity of the farming industry but also to its knowledge and capacity”, he said.
“I am impressed with the thought that has gone into developing this initiative. This is reflected in the research component that will increase knowledge and better practice; the deliberate involvement of female farmers, acknowledging that gender equity is a clear indicator of the progress of a nation; and the clear evidence of local ownership,” he said.
He concluded that the approximately CND $5 million (J$640 million) invested in the initiative is significant value for money, as over 200,000 persons stand to benefit, directly or indirectly.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, through its agencies – the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) and the Fisheries Division – is the implementation agency for the project. IICA is the executing agency, on behalf of CIDA.

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