Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Roger Clarke, says there has been an overwhelming response by farmers to the Ministry’s multi-million ginger project, currently being implemented across the island.
Speaking at the Jamaica Agricultural Society's (JAS) 117th annual general meeting, at the Denbigh showground in May Pen, Clarendon, on July 11, Mr. Clarke disclosed that the 150 acres of land, initially targeted for the planting of new ginger at a cost of over $15 million, has been exceeded.
“So far, we have gone 221 acres, and everybody wants (to get involved), because the market is there. Farmers are bombarding the (Ministry’s) Export Division, which is implementing the project, for planting materials. This is a good sign,” the Minister said, while citing inputs from private sector interests, such as Salada Foods, that are assisting with the expansion.
The ginger project is half of a $42 million Ministry initiative, also involving turmeric, which is aimed at enhancing outputs through the cultivation of upwards of 500 acres of the spices. Some 350 acres have been earmarked for the cultivation of turmeric at a cost of some $38 million.
Meanwhile, Mr. Clarke disclosed that the Ministry is currently in discussion with brewery giants, Red Stripe, regarding the company’s interest in procuring the equivalent of 1,500 acres of cassava. He informed that the modalities are being worked out by both sides, details of which are expected to be announced shortly.
The Minister also announced that consequent on discussions with local rice growers, they have committed to cultivating some 1,000 acres of the cereal, beginning in August. This is being done as part of efforts to reduce the quantities imported.
By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter