JIS News

Story Highlights

  • JSIF is providing $160 million through the World Bank and the JBI is constributing $32 million.
  • The project will benefit 160 farmers from 8 communities in St. Ann and Manchester, with 20 greenhouses in each community.
  • Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Roger Clarke, in his address, said that the project will help to boost domestic crop production.

One hundred and sixty farmers from eight communities in St. Ann and Manchester are set to benefit from a $192 million Water Catchment and Greenhouse Cluster Project, being undertaken by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) and the Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI).

A total of 20 greenhouses are being constructed in each of the eight targeted communities, with a mined-out pit at each site to be converted into a surface water reservoir to be used for irrigation purposes.

The project, which involves collaboration with Noranda Jamaica Bauxite Partners, is geared at placing formerly small scale subsistence farmers on mined-out bauxite lands, and providing the necessary infrastructure and equipment for them to do greenhouse farming on a larger scale.

JSIF is providing $160 million through the World Bank-sponsored Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI), with the JBI contributing $32 million.

At the official launch and tour of the in Tobolski project in St. Ann on Friday (Feb. 21), Managing Director of JSIF, Scarlett Gillings, said that the initiative will bring increased yields and improved market access for the farmers.

She said that community members will also benefit by providing goods and services to the businesses.

Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Roger Clarke, in his address, said that the project will help to boost domestic crop production.

He noted that over the last two quarters, production of domestic agriculture grew by 8 .5 per cent and 14 per cent, respectively “and with these new additions, the next quarter is going to be way out front, and any time agriculture grows, the economy grows.”

Minister Clarke said that growth in the sector means that progress is being made in reducing the country’s food import bill, adding that as a nation “we must work towards feeding ourselves”.

Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, in his remarks, stated that the project is consistent with the Government’s position on the restoration of mined-out lands.

He said that as at the end of 2013 some 8, 983 hectares of land had been mined with 6, 889 hectares certified rehabilitated by the Commissioner of Mines.