JIS News

Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Christopher Tufton, has said that the Ministry’s $2.5 million allocation to the Christiana Potato Growers Co-operative Association Limited, will assist with the development of a tissue culture facility that will provide planting material for irish potatoes.
Responding to questions raised by Member of Parliament for Central Kingston, Ronald Thwaites, in the House of Parliament on Tuesday (July 22), Dr. Tufton noted that this move was “in keeping with our current thrust to grow more locally produced starch.”
Dr. Tufton informed the House that the Association had been in dialogue with the Ministry on the issue of developing seeds for planting irish potatoes through tissue culture technology.
“In fact, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) has been approached and they have indicated an interest in the production of seeds using modern technology,” he advised.
The Agriculture Minister further noted that Ministry technocrats would have to be involved in the process and that this “is a work in progress.” He also informed that with the Ministry only securing partial financing for the venture, “we are working on a few other options”, to source the additional funds needed.
Dr. Tufton noted, however, that with the budgetary resources available, “we should be in a position, over a 12-month period, to see increases (in production) in the region of 10 to 15 per cent. We are hoping that with a facility such as the tissue culture.., that (production) can progressively improve over time.”
He pointed out further, that the Government has traditionally provided support to the Association, noting that assistance amounting to $1.2 million was also given to the company after Hurricane Dean in 2007, to rehabilitate their green house facility.