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  • Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson, says work is to get under way early 2017 on the construction of an agro-economic zone in Annotto Bay, St. Mary.
  • “We are looking at putting a structure in place where we have a complex… where we have grading, packaging, processing, drying facilities, abattoir, and cold storage – everything run by solar energy – so that when you have produce to sell, you have a market,” he said.

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson, says work is to get under way early 2017 on the construction of an agro-economic zone in Annotto Bay, St. Mary.

He said the facility, among others to be established across the island, will provide a guaranteed market for agricultural produce.

“We are looking at putting a structure in place where we have a complex… where we have grading, packaging, processing, drying facilities, abattoir, and cold storage –
everything run by solar energy – so that when you have produce to sell, you have a market,” he said.

Minister Hutchinson was addressing a meeting of the Seville Benevolent Society Production and Marketing Organization (PMO) on Friday (October 21) at the Fantasy Beach in Priory, St. Ann.

He said that another component of the agro-economic zone is that waste left over from processing will be converted into fertiliser or animal feed, which will be sold back to the farmers at a significantly reduced cost.

Minister Hutchinson, in the meantime, is encouraging more farmers to get involved in the cultivation of Irish potato to meet market demand.

“We have an Irish Potato Programme… we are spending roughly $1.1 billion; $48.3 million for cash injection to the farmers and we are spending roughly $700 million to provide technical support for the farmers,” he informed.

“We are looking to provide seeds free of cost for up to two acres, we are helping you with the spraying material, and we are also looking at helping you with some fertiliser,” he pointed out.

He said access to this programme is available only through the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) and that the planting material will be available as of the end of October.