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JIS News

Preparatory work began yesterday (May 13), on the tissue culture ginger project in Top Alston, Clarendon, one of the three projects selected by the Labour Day Planning Committee for national focus this year.
Vice President of the North West Clarendon Ginger Resuscitation Programme, Sean Thompson, told JIS News that it is of the utmost importance that the project receives the attention and support it deserves, as it holds immense potential to dramatically improve the lives of the residents.
“When this demonstration has become a success, then the farmers’ drive to plant will increase, and we will see significant improvement in the lives of the people here, economically,” he said.
“Our hope, in another year or so, is to have a ginger festival inside here. We will have the products derived from ginger. As you know, ginger is the base for a number of products, including perfumes and spices and essence. So we are hoping to have a day, a ginger festival day, where these products will be on display,” he stated.
“We are hoping to partner with the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) and other interest groups, to come in and display the products and to have interest generated inside here, as to what ginger can do. This will bring wealth into the area, thereby improving the lives of the residents,” he added.
Mr. Thompson also disclosed that local food processors have expressed a concern that ginger of an inferior quality, is still being imported. He said that this was even greater reason for encouraging the cultivation of ginger locally, which is superior to its foreign counterparts and fetches an attractive price on the world market.
In order to ensure the sustainability of the initiative, a committee has been set up, which will ensure that the project is carried out with transparency and all required guidelines are carefully followed.
“Sustainability of projects has long been a problem in Jamaica. Initiatives are started and fail, because people either lack the organisation, or the skill, or the drive to see it through. Now we have set up a system to ensure that this project is sustained,” Mr. Thompson said.
“We are going to be using the Christiana Potato Co-operative, which is an established body, as a distributing arm for the ginger products, after this project has improved the capacity of the people here. They will also distribute the planting material to the farmers. So nothing is going to happen by chance, it will all follow a structured pattern,” he explained.
Member of Parliament for North West Clarendon Michael Stern, said the project was one of several that have been undertaken in his constituency, geared at building capacity.
He noted that the area is known for agricultural produce of premium quality, and he would be providing funding from the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), to ensure it becomes a viable venture, creating jobs and opportunities for youths, in particular.
“We are set on a path to become the breadbasket of Jamaica. We have to find a way to create jobs and opportunities for our constituents. When we grow the produce in the hills, we must then focus on agro-processing on the plains. We have to find ways and means to provide our young people with opportunities. This is all part of the capacity building in this constituency,” Mr. Stern said.
Mr. Alvin Murray, of the Christiana Potato Growers Co-operative, will be providing the requisite technical support to facilitate successful use of tissue culture to propagate healthy ginger plants, in a greenhouse environment, increasing the yield by some sixty to eighty per cent.

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