St. Catherine Farmers Begin Reaping Ginger from New Project


Thirteen farmers from the Sligoville and Harkers Hall communities in St. Catherine who participated in a Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) ginger project last year March, have begun reaping the crop.
The project is aimed at increasing the production of ginger that is free from the rhizome rot, a root disease affecting ginger plants.
Under the programme, which was funded by the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) at a cost of $225,000, each farmer received free planting material, fertiliser, chemicals and basic training in land preparation, pest management and pre-harvest and post-harvest techniques. At the end of the crop, each farmer is required to return 78 kilograms of planting materials, which will be distributed to other farmers.
Speaking at a ceremony held yesterday (March 9) at the James Mountain community centre in Sligoville, Minister of Agriculture, Roger Clarke urged the farmers to produce more ginger in order to take full advantage of local and overseas markets.
“We have the potential, we have the opportunities, but we are not taking full advantage,” he said, noting that farmers would not be able to supply the markets if their yields were low.
Mr. Clarke said the Ministry of Agriculture and the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) were co-ordinating research to ensure that the rhizome rot disease was not prevalent. In the meantime he said, farmers must follow proper cultural practices given by RADA extension officers in growing ginger.
Earlier in the day, a group of farmers and RADA officials participated in the first reaping activity of the ginger project on the property of Wilfred Edwards, who is cultivating ginger on a small plot in James Mountain, Sligoville.
Agricultural Extension Officer, Vernal Tulloch told JIS News that since reaping began, some 358 kilograms (790 pounds) had been obtained from the farm. He said the plot was expected to yield some 635 kilograms (1,400 pounds) when reaping was completed.”The quality of ginger here is excellent,” Mr. Tulloch said, attributing the quality to proper land preparation and the use of fertiliser.
Also speaking at the event were Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and Member of Parliament for South East St. Catherine, K.D. Knight; RADA Zonal Director for the Eastern Region, Fullerton White; and General Manager at the Development Bank of Jamaica, Byron McDonald.

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