JIS News

The Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) St. James branch is moving to introduce greenhouse technology in the parish, with the first facility to be constructed in the Mafoota area at a cost of approximately $600,000.
The facility will benefit farmers, who are involved in the production of vegetables for the hotel sector. Acting Parish Manager for (RADA) in St. James, Wentworth Mitchell, told JIS News that preliminary work has been done towards the establishment of the 40 by 200 square-foot greenhouse, which should be completed by sometime in November.
The facility, he said, “is to be structured with all the necessary ingredients that would go into our operation including water, which would be critical, and the facility would be so structured that we would be able to carry on our production even if is the rainy period.”
He noted that adverse weather conditions had caused a decline in production for the third quarter of the year, but we are “hoping that with the introduction of the greenhouse technology, we would be able to modify this type of environment, where we would be able to grow our crops irrespective of whether we are having rains or we are experiencing dry conditions”.
Mr. Mitchell emphasized that continued production was essential to the maintenance of the markets with which the vegetable farmers have contractual arrangements. “We believe that the greenhouse technology is the way to go, because we would be able to produce out of season, all year round, because the condition that will be provided there should be sufficient to grow the crop anytime, unless we have extreme conditions like a hurricane,” he pointed out.
Mr. Mitchell told JIS News that the application of greenhouse technology was already doing well in the parishes of St. Ann and St. Elizabeth, hence the move to adopt the technology in St. James.
“With the yield that we see coming out of those greenhouses already established, within say two cropping seasons, you should be looking at profits.
We see for example, tomatoes grown in the greenhouses moving production three times what we are actually getting out there in the fields,” he informed.
He expressed the view that the increase in production, which should lead to increased income, would serve to attract more young people to farming.
“We think that the route that we are taking now with new technology should be a means of bringing younger people onboard”, he emphasized.