JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Irish potato imports have declined by more than 75 per cent since 2008, under the Government’s deliberate strategy to ramp up production.
  • Imports have fallen from 9.3 million kilograms to 2.2 million kilograms in 2013.
  • At the same time, the country’s national self-sufficiency levels increased from 32 per cent in 2008 to close to 90 per cent in 2013.

Irish potato imports have declined by more than 75 per cent since 2008, under the Government’s deliberate strategy to ramp up production.

Imports have fallen from 9.3 million kilograms to 2.2 million kilograms in 2013. At the same time, the country’s national self-sufficiency levels increased from 32 per cent in 2008 to close to 90 per cent in 2013.

“The strategy has been working,” Acting Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier, told potato growers, buyers, and other key stakeholders, on September 30, at the launch of the National Irish Potato Expansion Programme, at the Ministry’s Hope Gardens headquarters in Kingston.

“This success has been impressive and was secured through the cooperation of key stakeholders – the farmers, input suppliers, financiers and traders. Another critical success factor has been the Ministry’s investment of over $15 million of additional storage capacity in Christiana, to allow for storage of the crop when it comes in bulk, and the gradual release thereafter,” he informed.

The  target this year is the planting of 1,200 hectares; the production of 15 million kilograms of Irish potato; the continuous training of 1,500 farmers; increased public/private sector/NGO partnership; and more work on varieties that are to be used as “fries”.