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Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Christopher Tufton, has informed that the Consumer Affairs Commission and the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), will be monitoring selected retailers to ensure that the prices on the cheaper fertiliser blends, which arrived in the island last week, are kept at the agreed levels.
“The intention is not to implement price control, we will however continue to monitor and we will use the media through advertising promotion, to highlight the participating locations in each parish so that farmers will know exactly where they need to go in order to get the prices as announced,” Dr. Tufton said, during a statement to the House of Representatives yesterday (Oct. 28).
The following distributors and farmers’ associations are participating in the fertiliser importation programme: Jamaica Cane Growers Association; Banana Industry Board; Coconut Industry Board; Jamaica Agricultural Society and the Jamaica Livestock Association.
Dr. Tufton informed that each 50 pound bag of fertiliser will retail for less than $1,500 per bag.
“When compared with the current market price for an equivalent blend of a 50kg bag, the cost to the Jamaican farmer will be less than $3,500 at the retail store. This is a 30 to 50 per cent reduction on existing retail price,” the Agriculture Minister said.
In terms of quality, Dr. Tufton said an independent lab was engaged to test the fertiliser and confirmed that the product is authentic and does not contain any contaminants. He noted that farmers should be comfortable that “this is ‘A’ grade premium quality fertiliser.”
The first shipment of 500 tonnes of fertiliser arrived in the island on Friday October 24 from the United States, as part of the Government’s move to source cheaper fertiliser for farmers.
Meanwhile, Dr. Tufton said the Government has taken note of the reduction in fertiliser prices with effect from October 21, by the local producer, New Port Fersan.
“We commend them for that move and encourage them to find more efficient ways of providing the product to farmers. The Government will continue to collaborate with the domestic producer in an effort to seek the best possible prices for Jamaica’s farmers,” the Minister of Agriculture said.
He also said that at the same time the Government will continue to explore creative and proactive policy interventions, to ensure the viability and sustainability of the agricultural sector.