Wed | Sep 20, 2017

Going Bananas & Beyond

Published:Thursday | June 30, 2016 | 6:00 AMKrysta Anderson
Jamaica Producer's Aneika McDonald with the new dangerously crunchy St Mary's Kettle Cooked Potato Chips.
JP's very own pineapples, sweet potatoes, and green bananas.
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On every street corner in Kingston, you're guaranteed to find a banana vendor. Their supplier has been none other than Jamaica Producers (JP). And last Friday, JP launched their JP Farm Fresh initiative geared towards providing green bananas, sweet potatoes, sweet cassavas and pineapples newly harvested from their farms right into your homes. Now, how's that for farm-fresh?

Mystery produce boxes made their way to the front of the stage, along with a basket filled with fresh fruits and vegetables. This marked the official start of the launch.

Shareholders, specially invited guests and the press gathered at The Knutsford Court Hotel to learn a little bit more about JP's new and exciting healthy product line. The timeless and strategic move is part of the country's 'Grow what we eat and eat what we grow' campaign.

According to CEO of JP Group Jeffrey Hall, "There are too many families starting their day unhealthily as far as consuming food is concerned." He later gave his stamp of approval and thanked the team for making it all possible.

Visual aid in tow, Dr Damion Graham took his attentive audience on a journey to their beautiful rural home - Agualta Vale in St Mary - which, he explained, is set to make the best produce this side of paradise.

With almost 300 farmers, they are intent on doing things differently. Their mission: to get the Jamaican consumers thrilled about starting their day the right way.

 

Best practices used

 

"JP is known for just bananas, so we've decided to educate persons on the other products they produce. We looked into our heritage and we modernised, incorporating best practices from North America. We have become the game changers in the yields of cassava, growing tremendously from 14 to 25 to 60 tonnes per hectare on our farms. The sweet potato is cured before it reaches to you. And as for pineapples, from the days of the Tainos, we knew how to grow the fruit. While we lost sight of its cultivation, we remained hopeful that some of the Tainos' practices must have rubbed off on us.

"Currently, we have 1.5 million pineapples on farms and they are increasing in number, as well as getting bigger and sweeter, harvest by harvest. As we grow, we'll be able to satisfy all of your pineapple needs." he said in his speech.

Then came time for the main event: the launch of their commercial recorded on Jamaican soil, showcasing their very own farmers hard at work. The sight was a beauty to behold, and cheers of consent erupted following the closing statement, "Farming is not just what we do, it's who we are."

Aside from their fresh produce, they also had some of their other products on display for sampling, namely the Jablum True Brew Coffee, the popular Tortuga Caribbean rum cake, along with banana bread and sweet potato pudding made from the bananas and sweet potatoes from their farms.

krysta.anderson@gleanerjm.com