Mandeville Weekly News


Posted by SR (riley) on Dec 30 2016 at 12:08 AM
Mandeville Weekly News >>

Just over 70 hectares of Irish potato are expected to be planted by farmers in Westmoreland under the 2016/17 national Irish potato programme, which is up from 31.2 hectares, which were planted by 101 farmers in the parish in 2015/16. Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson, said that emphasis will be placed on the Irish potato belts of New Works, Content, Holly Hill, Dillion Big Woods and Darliston, while speaking at a seminar held on December 15 at the Assemblies of God Church in Darliston, where planting material was handed over to farmers and technical advice provided.

Minister Hutchinson told the farmers that their participation is key to achieving the production target under the programme. “You are considered to be among the top producers of quality agricultural produce in the island and for that reason, you are urged to play a major role in the national programme,” he said.The Ministry is targeting the planting of 1,200 hectares of the crop across all production areas of the country for 2016/17.  This is expected to yield 15 million kilograms of Irish potatoes to meet national demand.

Minister Hutchinson noted that the national Irish potato programme is a key part of Government’s overall strategy to reduce imports, enhance Jamaica’s food and nutrition system, achieve self-sufficiency in agricultural production and provide more income for farmers.Similar seminars have been held in St. Elizabeth, Portland, St. Andrew, St. James, St. Mary and Trelawny  with some  670 stakeholders participating.Minister Hutchinson urged the farmers to make good use of the information provided at the sessions.

The national Irish potato programme is being undertaken at a cost of $1.1 billion, with direct cash injection of $48.3 million from the Ministry and training and technical support valued at over $700 million. Through the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), 2,000 farmers will benefit from  training, field visits and the monitoring of production areas.The training will include spray calibration, new planting techniques and appropriate use of fertiliser.