JIS News

Labour Day activities this year will include a ginger resuscitation project in Butlers Run, in the Top Alston area of Clarendon.
“Small farmers in and around the area will benefit from practical demonstrations on pest eradication, as well as greenhouse and open field planting methodologies, by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, RADA and the Scientific Research Council,” said project co-ordinator, Shawn Thompson, in a JIS interview.
Mr. Thompson said the area was one of Jamaica’s prime ginger-growing locations, for which production had declined over the years due to rhizome rot.
He said the project represents the culmination of extensive research into ways of combating the nematodes that have been destroying the gingers, and will teach farmers to sanitise the soil, using a method of solarisation, and to re-plant, using clean planting material.
“Fifteen acres of land have been cleared at the RADA-owned farm,” he stated. “And farmers, and other interested persons in the community, may come along and view the demonstrations and join in the planting,” he explained.
He said that the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, will also be on hand to do some planting. The main objective of the project is to make clean planting material, grown on the farm, available to persons who wish to grow ginger and revive the industry.
The project co-ordinator further stated that two greenhouses had been set up at the site for the planting of ginger in re-cycled tyres using tissue culture.
“Planting in tyres has produced outstanding yields” Mr. Thompson said.
He told JIS News that a research project undertaken by Alvin Murray of the Christiana Potato Co-operative, which involved planting ginger in tyres stacked on top of each other, had produced yields up to ten times higher than the traditional open field planting methods.
“Some 400 tyres have been collected from local tyre shops and the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA),” Mr. Thompson said. Planting ginger in the greenhouses, using tissue culture and types, will also be demonstrated, he said.
An article posted on the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries’ website states that Jamaican ginger is considered one of the best in the world, and commands a premium price. The article further states that ginger production has declined due to rhizome rot disease, and that the Ministry has conducted a great deal of research on the disease to address the problem.
Ginger is also one of the twelve crops that have been targeted by the Ministry for productivity improvement, based on market demands, as revealed by an end-user survey. Tactics to be employed by the Ministry, in conjunction with RADA, to improve production and productivity of Jamaican ginger, include testing and maintenance of soil health, farmer training, technical support, research into new crop varieties and crop trials.