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Story Highlights

  • Work has been completed on irrigation systems for two agro parks and the schemes should be fully operational in short order.
  • Systems at Yallahs, St. Thomas and Ebony Park in Clarendon are now ready for operation.
  • The Ministry is “making great effort” to boost the production of onions to put a dent in the importation of the crop.

Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Roger Clarke, says that work has been completed on irrigation systems for two agro parks and the schemes should be fully operational in short order.

He said that the systems at Yallahs, St. Thomas and Ebony Park in Clarendon are now ready for operation. “At Yallahs, it is finished now, and we should be commissioning that system within a couple weeks,” the Minister stated.

He was speaking to journalists during a tour of the Amity Hall Agro Park in St. Catherine on Friday, November 15, with President of the Republic of Haiti, His Excellency Michel Martelly.

Meanwhile, he informed that the design work has been completed for the installation of an irrigation system as Spring Plain in Clarendon.

“We have identified 100 acres there for onion production and land preparation is well on its way, and there is irrigation water available in that general area,” the Minister informed.

He said that the Ministry is “making great effort” to boost the production of onions to put a dent in the importation of the crop.

“We have just finished reaping onions at Plantain Garden, St. Thomas, and that, combined with the irrigation systems at Yallahs, Ebony Park and Spring Plain, will enable farmers “to produce in earnest”.

Turning to operations at Amity Hall, Minister Clarke said that the small farmers “are doing quite a bit there”.

“They have pumpkin, potato, sorrel, okra, onion,” he pointed out, noting that the Caribbean Broilers Group is currently reaping sorghum, and will also be planting red peas.

A total of nine agro parks are to be established across the island, which are projected to realize foreign exchange savings of some $4 billion, provide employment for about 5,000 persons, and reduce the importation of targeted crops.

Meanwhile, the Agriculture Minister said that come next year, the Ministry will be paying keen attention to greenhouse farmers, in order to streamline their practice.

He said that recently, “the farmers held back on production in anticipation that we were going to have hurricane, and put me in a very precarious position where I am getting pressure to import things like sweet pepper, when we have the capability to produce that.”