JIS News

The Government is putting the final touches on a new banana policy, which will enable small farmers to secure a greater share of the local market.
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, speaking at a press conference at his Hope Garden’s office in Kingston today (July 21), said that small farmers were finding it difficult to compete with larger producers in the local banana market.
“They (large producers) are a lot more formalised, and a lot more structured. They have a lot more experience and therefore, they have been able to enhance the supply and the quality of the fruit within the formal structure. It therefore has created a challenge to some of the smaller growers, who are not as formalised, and who lack some of the critical intelligence and markets and the infrastructure, like the ripening houses,” he pointed out. Dr. Tufton said the policy is currently before Cabinet and once tabled in Parliament, it will be accompanied by a number of measures to enhance the capacity of farmers and consumers to support the sector.
Among the measures to be put in place are extension support, variations in variety, and a campaign to encourage Jamaicans to eat bananas. Dr. Tufton said that two ripening houses are also to be set up in St. James and St. Mary.
“All of that is geared towards bringing the standards of the small farmer up, which will allow them to be better able to compete, making them more efficient, more liable,” he stated.

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