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JIS News

The Ministry of Agriculture will be establishing pepper mashers, in an effort to satisfy the increasing demand for mashed hot peppers in the agro-processing trade.
Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Christopher Tufton, said the Ministry, through its Agricultural Support Services Project (ASSP) unit, has written a proposal to secure funding for one such facility, which would be operated as a business.
“What the ASSP unit has done, is put together a business proposal and we have secured some funding to establish it as a business. It is another stage in the chain, which is to take the primary product, to mash it, to store it and allow the processor, who is catering to the end user, to be able to purchase the mash, and then use it in their production process,” he said.
In an interview with JIS News, Dr. Tufton said that the Ministry recently approved contracts for at least two mash facilities. Additionally, he said a large private sector entity, which uses hot pepper sauce to produce its products, is keen on setting up a facility.
“Between now and the middle of this year, we will be well advanced to establish at least three mash facilities across the country,” he added.
The Minister said the facilities would be supported by the increased production of scotch bonnet and red peppers. Some nine pepper nurseries have been established by the Ministry, as part of its drive to improve the production of pepper and to meet the demand in the agro-processing trade.
The nurses are located at Thatch Hill, in White River, St. Ann; Annotto Bay and Clermont, St. Mary; York and Sunny Hill, St. Thomas; Breadnut Valley and Ebony Park, Clarendon; Accompong, St. Elizabeth and Bushy Park, St Catherine.
Dr. Tufton said that farmers have been buying the seedlings, as it is easier for them to purchase the plants, than to set up their own nurseries.
“This is an integrated approach. We are hoping that by the middle of the year, we will be able to link the primary stages of production, from the germination of the seeds right through to the end user,” the Minister said.