Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Floyd Green, says several mango orchards will be established across the island, commencing in Clarendon next year on a 1,000-acre plot.
He points out that the project will be in partnership with private investors to take advantage of the huge market in the United States (US) for Jamaican mangoes, where 100,000 pounds have been sold since the start of the year, and one importer indicating that 10 times that amount can be sold in that country.
The Minister was speaking at the handing over of fruit trees at the Commodore New Testament Church of God in St. Catherine, on October 1.
“We are going to start next year by putting 60 acres into production for mangoes. We want to use the public-private partnership model to build out that 1,000 acres in mango production, because the market is there,” the Minister emphasised.
The fruit trees are being distributed under the Ministry’s National Fruit Trees Programme, which is aimed at supporting food security and protecting the environment on a sustainable basis.
Some 4,500 fruit trees will be distributed to farmers and other persons. A total of 247 trees were distributed at the event.
The project is being executed in conjunction with the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS). Farmers and other persons are encouraged to plant fruit trees on unused lands.
“We see it as an inexpensive way to ensure that we have an abundance of locally grown fruits. We believe it will help our children; it will send the right message on the importance of fruits and the growing of fruits,” the Minister told the audience.
For her part, Manager for the St. Catherine parish office of the JAS, Cardia Duhaney, said persons should plant now during the rainy season, and noted that trees are important to mitigate Climate Change.
“You are increasing food security, you are promoting rainfall, feeding yourself, while protecting the water source for everyone,” the JAS official said, in her endorsement of the programme.