St. Thomas Farmers Urged to Produce More Cassava


The Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) is encouraging farmers in eastern St. Thomas to grow more cassava to be utilized by the Jamaica Producers Group, following the destruction of the Eastern Banana plantation in St. Thomas by Hurricane Ivan in September.
Presenting a report at the recently held St. Thomas Assessment Forum, RADA Deputy Parish Manager, Peter Thompson, said that more than 22.69 kilograms (50,000 pounds) cassava were needed per week by the company, which recently embarked on the production of cassava chips to complement its banana and plantain chips products.
The forum held at the Anglican Church Hall in Morant Bay aimed to share information and receive feedback from representatives of communities and the relevant agencies on the ongoing damage assessment, and to highlight activities being pursued by all stakeholders towards the rehabilitation process.
“We are now purchasing in excess of 50,000 pounds per week to supply to the Jamaica Producers Group in St. Mary who are now producing cassava chips,” Mr. Thompson told the meeting. He noted that there had been a steady demand for cassava by the company since Hurricane Ivan damaged banana plantations and caused a shortage of raw material for processing. He also called on farmers who had cassava to contact the RADA Office in St Thomas.
Meanwhile, Mr. Thompson informed that the St Thomas RADA office was now working with farmers “to get them back into production.” He stated that the fruit tree crop resuscitation programme in the parish was in progress and a nursery was being set up at the Bodles Agricultural Station in St. Catherine where farmers could purchase seedlings when they were matured.
The Deputy Parish Manager disclosed that the office had completed the registration of over 3,000 farmers who had suffered damage to their crops.
The registration process was carried out by 20 temporary field officers assigned to the RADA office by the Office of National Reconstruction (ONR). He said the completed applications were sent to the ONR and ratings placed on them based on the “nature and state of the damage”.
Additionally, Mr. Thompson said, the office was continuing the registration of farmers under the Agri-Business Information system (ABIS), an online marketing programme being developed by RADA to help farmers to better produce and market their crops. Also attending the meeting, which was organised by the Social Development Commission (SDC), were representatives of government agencies and community leaders.

JIS Social