UK-Based Company Invests in Fresh Produce Market


Jamaican farmers are poised to benefit from an agreement between Jamaica Trade and Invest and Exotic Farm Produce Limited for the production of fresh produce, which will be exported worldwide.
In an interview with JIS News, Executive Director of the Markets Division at Jamaica Trade Invest, Kirk Kennedy, said the partnership will see the United Kingdom-based firm investing in Jamaica to help the local farmers develop a market for their crops, and to ensure that the products are packaged properly for export.
“They (Exotic Farm Produce) have already invested in a cold storage facility here, and it was opened recently. They are about to invest in a packing house, and they, hopefully, will be investing in another cold storage facility,” said Mr. Kennedy. “But, what it creates for us, was an opportunity, a ready market for Jamaican goods, for the faming community.they want a market, technical assistance because in order to supply markets like the UK, you must grow your products to certain standards,” he continued.Director of Logistics at Exotic Farm Produce, Clive Lawrence, said that the company has already started local trial production for sweet corn, through technical assistance from farmers in Thailand and Peru.
“We’ve already employed an agronomist locally, who’s been working with us now for three months in the trial production of sweet corn. It is going very well. We started off with one acre, we’re now proposing (to expand) to eight acres, so the growth is growing well,” Mr. Lawrence said.
He added that “we’ve got support from the Thailand farmers to promote growth here in Jamaica, the seeds are actually coming from our Thailand supplier, our Peruvian growers are actually supporting activity here, and as I speak, there are packing machines on their way from Peru to Jamaica.”
In late January 2007, a trial site for the growing of baby corn was established at Bodles Research Station, Old Harbour, St. Catherine. The first trial crop was harvested 50 days after planting on March 29.

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