JIS News

Land adjacent to Holland Bamboo Avenue in St. Elizabeth has been earmarked for the establishment of the Holland Production Centre, which will, among other things, package and process local fruits and vegetables and assist farmers to market their crops and animals.
The centre will be managed by the Holland Development Foundation, which has applied to lease 100 acres of land on the Holland property.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture, J.C. Hutchinson, who made the announcement during his contribution to the 2008/09 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on May 21, said that the centre will purchase fruits and vegetables from farmers and grade and package them.
The ‘grade A’ vegetables will go to the hotels and exporters, while the ‘grade B’ produce will be for the local markets, and the ‘grade C’ for processors.A processing plant will also be established to process all ‘grade C’ fruits and vegetables into juices, and purees, with the trash to be used for animal feed and fertilizer.
The centre will feature a cluster of six greenhouses, one each for hot pepper, cucumber, horticulture, sweet pepper, herbs and tomato, while 30 ornamental fish tanks will provide ornamental fish commercially. There will be an abattoir for the slaughtering of cows, goats and sheep, the State Minister said, as well as an art and craft shop for the display and sale of locally produced craft items, especially wood carving from Ipswich.
A food court/coffee shop will provide an array of meals including traditional jerk pork and chicken, mutton, fish, goat meat and natural juices, while a chips plant will process chips from banana, dasheen, yam, sweet potato and plantain.
Mr. Hutchinson informed that there will also be an animal farm display showcasing breeds of animals developed in Jamaica such as Red Poll, Black Poll, Brahman, Jamaica Hope, upgraded goats from the Boer/Nubian breed, upgraded sheep from the Doper breed, and upgraded pig breeds.
The centre will also feature a bio-digester using waste to provide fuel for the centre; a layer house for the production of eggs; an agricultural plot for the production of most cash crops; a rabbit hutch; a wholesale/retail market for the sale of locally grown produce to consumers at farm gate prices; and an animal pound, which will hold stray animals.
“There are cows that wander on the road between Lacovia through Holland Bamboo to Holland Village. They have caused numerous accidents, roughly one every month and recently, two persons died along this road due to these animals straying onto the roadway. These cows have also been damaging the bamboos in Holland Bamboo, and the cultivations of small farmers,” Mr. Hutchinson told the House.
In addition, there will be an animal market for cows, goats, pigs and sheep. “There is a big demand for this facility since the one in Santa Cruz was closed years ago,” he noted.
Meanwhile, a pepper crusher will be put in place to crush scotch bonnet and red pepper, to be used in sauces and seasoning, while a corn sheller/crusher will process corn not used for home consumption, into corn flour.
A farmers’ store will vend inputs for agriculture with discounts for some farmers, while cold storage will be provided for perishable produce that are not sold or distributed immediately and also provide a facility for persons needing to utilize such a service. The production centre will also have nurseries to provide seedlings for farmers.
“This is not only a centre to assist farmers in the marketing of their produce and animals, but it is also hoped to provide educational tours displaying our local animals, food and crops. Being beside Holland Bamboo, we hope it will also become a tourist attraction,” Mr. Hutchinson said.
He added that “(it is) an ambitious project, but we are well on the way. We have already had proposals for the leasing of the cold storage, greenhouses, animal market and pound, pepper crusher, corn sheller/crusher, ornamental fish tanks and rabbit hutch. The Holland Development Foundation will operate the farmer’s store, animal farm display, bio-digester and agricultural plot”.
Mr. Hutchinson said that when the centre is fully established, it should employ 95 persons directly and profits will go towards funding projects within the community.