JIS News

Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, expressed his pleasure that test plots for the new variety of MD2 pineapples are flourishing in Jamaica, while touring pilot projects in St Mary on Friday (July 3).
The Minister said he first saw this variety of pineapples when he visited Costa Rica last year, and had discussions with the Costa Rican Minister of Agriculture about providing planting material for Jamaica for product testing, based on the large export market for the variety.
The Agricultural Support Services Project in the Ministry of Agriculture subsequently imported some 110,000 suckers, which were distributed among pineapple farmers, islandwide.
The Minister said he was very optimistic about the success of the pilot plots, and looked forward to seeing fruits in another 12-13 months and to getting feedback on the market trials.
Industry Development Officer for the Agricultural Support Services Project, Othneil Carby, explained that the MD2 variety of pineapple is the most popular on the world market today, with about eighty five per cent of the international market using this variety.
“It has a higher brix content (sugar-to-water mass ratio) than most other varieties, meaning it is sweeter, is richer in vitamin C and is cylindrical in shape making it ideal for processing,” Mr Carby added.
He also noted that the eye of the MD2 variety is less sunken, the skin thinner and the colour more uniform, making it more appealing to buyers.
“The variety also has a longer shelf life. ” Mr. Carby said.
Minister Tufton was touring farms and meeting with local farmers as a part of his regular monthly farm tours, to facilitate one-on-one interaction and exchange with farmers and local producers, and also to keep up-to-date on what is happening on the ground in the local agricultural sector.
He also visited St Mary Farm, a subsidiary of the Jamaica Producers Group, and the Leighton James’ farm. St. Mary Farm is a large producer, processor and exporter, while Leighton James is a small farmer and a part of a local small farmer marketing co-operative. Both farms are located in St Mary.
Mr. Davis says he has planted over 9,000 suckers of the MD2 variety of pineapple, and St Mary Farm reported that they have planted over 45, 000 suckers. Both have used a densely concentrated planting style.
Mr. Davis says he has been farming since he was at school, going to the field on week ends. He has now joined his uncle, a traditional pineapple farmer, to try out the new MD2 variety of pineapple and is pleased with the results so far.

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