The upgraded irrigation system at the Bodles Research Station in St. Catherine is expected to play a vital role in strengthening the Fruit Tree Project.
In 2021, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, in collaboration with the Jamaica Agricultural Society, embarked on a National Fruit Tree Planting Programme. The programme aims to increase the nation’s food security by expanding the production of fruit trees and the consumption of local fruits.
Acting Principal Research Director in the Research and Development Division, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Michelle Sherwood, said this technical improvement is valuable, as the plants need to be irrigated regularly.
“We produce seedlings for the mango and the fruit tree projects. The irrigation systems were poor and so have affected us over the years to be able to produce these seedlings. Now that it is being repaired and the pressure has improved, we’re now able to provide an adequate supply of water to our nurseries,” she told JIS News in an interview.
Improvement in the water pressure has also helped the work done in the laboratories at the Bodles Research Station.
In the meantime, rehabilitation work at the Bodles Research Station has led to the improvement of the Post-harvest Lab. This facility is critical to maintaining the freshness, nutrient content, taste and quality of fruits and vegetables after reaping.
“The postharvest lab is very important because after reaping your crop, you want to be able to ensure that the crop that you have will be able to last on the shelves and be able to meet the market in very good quality. With this lab, we’re now able to be made functional with the research that we’re doing on sweet pepper, sweet potato and hot pepper,” Mrs. Sherwood said.
Rehabilitation of the Bodles Research Station reflects the Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry’s prioritisation of research to strengthen the sector.
Just over $766 million was already spent to improve the facilities at Bodles over the past five years.