PIOJ Reports 16 Per Cent Growth in Agriculture

Photo: Melroy Sterling Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. JC Hutchinson (centre), and Chief Executive Officer of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Peter Thompson, listen to farmer Gary McLean, during a tour of the Yallahs Agro Park in St. Thomas on February 14.

The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) is reporting growth of 16 per cent in the agriculture sector for the October to December 2016 quarter, with a significant increase in the output of domestic crops.

Director General of the PIOJ, Dr. Wayne Henry, in revealing the figures at the quarterly press briefing held at the agency’s Oxford Road offices on February 22, attributed the growth to increase in rainfall coupled with Government initiatives to boost agricultural production.

He said the most significant increases were recorded for condiments, up 21.9 per cent; other tubers, up to 21.5 per cent; and yams, up 28.7 per cent.

He also reported a 13.5 per cent increase in domestic crops reaped during the period, resulting from improvement in the average productivity output per hectare, of five per cent.

He said the production of traditional crops grew by an estimated 23.6 per cent, with banana up 21.6 per cent; coffee, 17.9 per cent; cocoa, 36.2 per cent; while sugar production amounted to 41,954 tonnes.

Dr. Henry explained that the sugar industry benefited from the “prompt start of the crop season, compared with no production in the corresponding quarter of 2015”, due to the late start of production in the 2015/16 crop year.

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