- Government has embarked on a massive drive to boost agricultural production in Hanover through the setting up of banana and mixed crop agro parks.
- Two parks are to be established, one in Hazelymph and the other in Shettlewood.
- Already, farmers are engaged in crop production at the sites and they have formed co-operatives and provident societies and are undergoing training through the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA).
Government has embarked on a massive drive to boost agricultural production in Hanover through the setting up of banana and mixed crop agro parks.
Two parks are to be established. One in Hazelymph, which will be dedicated to banana production for export; and the other in Shettlewood for cultivation of crops such as pineapple, cassava, ginger, Irish potato, sweet potato, sorrel, dasheen and coco and pepper.
Already, farmers are engaged in crop production at the sites and they have formed co-operatives and provident societies and are undergoing training through the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA).
RADA is also seeking to improve the programme for water harvesting.
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Derrick Kellier, who toured the facilities recently, said he is impressed with the efforts of the farmers to formalise their operations in anticipation of the agro parks.
He noted that there are a lot of idle lands, some near spreads designated for the parks that the Government will be looking to bring into production.
“Some of these areas have a whole lot of Government lands that was divested to people, who are not making full use of them. So, between the areas of Shettlewood, Burnt Ground, Haughton Grove, Hazelymph and Seven Rivers, we are going to ensure that we get these farmers back out into the fields doing some sensible work,” he said.
He informed that the necessary infrastructure for irrigation had previously been installed at a cost of $45 million in Hazelymph “so Government will do what it takes to get the farmers interested again.”
Meanwhile, the Minister said he is pleased with the work underway to improve the farm roads leading to the park sites and other farms.
Roads in Knockalva, Land Settlement, Hazelymph, Shettlewood and Burnt Ground are being repaired under the Production Incentive Fund Programme. Bushing of the areas has been completed, while grading and spreading of marl is in progress.
Minister Kellier advised livestock farmers in the area to undertake the rearing of pigs, goats and sheep to supply the Sweet River Abattoir in the neighbouring parish of St. James.
Accompanying the Minister on the tour were State Minister in the Agriculture Ministry, Hon Luther Buchanan; Chief Technical Director in the Ministry, Dermon Spence; Chairman of the RADA Board of Directors, Dr. Richard Harrison; RADA Chief Executive Officer, Lenworth Fulton; members of the RADA Hanover management and extension services, as well as representatives from the Agro-Investment Corporation (AIC), National Irrigation Commission Limited (NIC), the Banana Board and the Agricultural Competitiveness Programme.