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The country’s horticulturalists are being encouraged to take advantage of the high demand for local plants and flowers, especially in the hotel industry.
Executive Director of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Al Powell, said that a study commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, shows that the sector has huge revenue-earning potential.
“There is a growing local market for cut flowers, foliage, bedding plants and finished potted plants, based on the increasing use of the products for landscaping and decorating purposes in the hotel industry, as well as in the residential and commercial developments,” he said.
The study also found that landscapers, tourists, decorators and event coordinators usually depend on local sources of supply, he said.
Mr. Powell was addressing the Clarendon Horticultural Society’s annual flower show held on Saturday (May 1) at the Denbigh Agricultural Showground in Clarendon.
Noting that there is a shortage of some types of cut flowers, Mr. Powell urged the society’s membership to grasp the income-earning opportunities in this area. “There is a shortage of some types of cut flowers and thus the bulk of the demand is not being met. This is a clear opportunity for those in business,” he said.
Mr. Powell informed that the Ministry is moving to revitalize the sector through the establishment of a team “to look into stimulating ornamental horticulture in Jamaica.” He stated that RADA stands ready to give technical assistance to practitioners.
Treasurer of the Clarendon Horticultural Society, Arlene Manning, called on home owners to use flowers to beautify their homes and to add value to their properties.
“Persons have not fully come to grips with the importance of beautifying their homes.it adds value to your home and in the community, you stand out,” she said.
Noting the potential of the local horticultural sector, Mrs. Manning said: “we have sunshine all year and we should capitalise on that. We should do better as an island in terms of planting, in terms of exporting.”
The Clarendon Horticultural Society was established 40 years ago as the May Pen Garden Club and currently has a membership of 65 inclusive of seven males. The society has won the Kingston Cup for best mounted display for two years running, and the St. Elizabeth Cup in the same category for the past three years.
The society also works with schools in the parish as well as the Jamaica 4-H Clubs to teach young people the art of floral arrangement.