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Story Highlights

  • Jamaica is on target to be self sufficient in the production of table Irish potato by 2015.
  • Jamaica now satisfies 80 per cent of the local demand for table Irish potato.
  • In 2012, the local market demand for table potato reached 16.8 million kilograms, up from 15.4 million kilograms in 2011.

Jamaica is on target to be self sufficient in the production of table Irish potato by 2015.

This was disclosed by Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Roger Clarke, in a speech read by Chief Executive Officer of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority, Lenworth Fulton, at the launch of National Farmers’ Month at the Jamaica Agricultural Society’s (JAS), downtown Kingston offices on April 2.

Mr. Clarke noted that Jamaica now satisfies 80 per cent of the local demand for table Irish potato.

In 2012, the local market demand for table potato reached 16.8 million kilograms, up from 15.4 million kilograms in 2011.

He said also that farmers have contributed to increased production in yams and sweet potatoes, while noting that the country is also self-sufficient in pork and poultry.

“Thanks to our farmers last year we produced the most ginger in this island in 25 years,” Mr. Clarke said.

Meanwhile, the Minister commented that agriculture is a business with vast and untapped possibilities.

He noted that it is understood globally that as the world population expands and becomes more sophisticated, the agricultural industry will increase in importance to human survival and well being.

“The agricultural sector here in Jamaica represents a very critical component of our country’s economy, contributing in excess of six per cent to our Gross Domestic Product, while being a source of employment for some 18 per cent of the population and being the strong tower of rural development,” Mr. Clarke asserted.

National Farmers’ Month will be observed from April 2 to 30, under the theme ‘Grow What We Eat…And Eat What We Grow’.

The activities for the month include the Jamaica 4H Clubs National Achievement Day at Denbigh Showground in Clarendon from April 9 to11.

President of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), Senator Norman Grant noted that Farmers’ Month enables the JAS to showcase the diversity of Jamaica’s agriculture.

He noted that activities are in keeping with the JAS’ Eat Jamaica Campaign, which seeks to implore local farmers and manufacturers to increase production of high quality agricultural products, which will result in more competitive prices.

“I charge my fellow Jamaicans to buy local produce in support of our farmers. Farming is our heritage, food is our culture. Knowing where our food comes from and who produced it adds to our satisfaction and contributes to healthier choices,” Senator Grant said.