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Boosting production at agro parks, greenhouses

Published:Monday | September 8, 2014 | 9:00 AM
Tomatoes in the Green House on Cyrel Chambers Farm in Karran Hall St Mary.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries is looking to ramp up production at agro parks and increase greenhouse farming and aquaculture as part of measures to combat drought and reduce food imports.

Acting portfolio minister, Derrick Kellier, stated that agro parks still have additional lands to be engaged, "and we are working assiduously with our farmers in the parks to ensure that every square inch of land is utilised".

In addition, he said, an audit of available unutilised greenhouse capacity in the country was being conducted, with a view to maximising production. Also, Govern-ment intends to utilise all the idle capacity in the aquaculture sector.

Kellier, who was addressing the recent opening of the Bethel Town Sorrel Processing Plant in Westmoreland, said the alternative to importing food continues to be the ramping up of production in areas with adequate rainfall as well as those regions served by irrigation systems.

"Between full utilisation of our agro parks, our greenhouse capacity, and greater production in areas with adequate rainfall, I am confident that we will ride out this drought," he stated.

Kellier, in the meantime, reiterated that there was adequate supply of food to feed the nation.

He said while vegetable production has not reached pre-drought levels, enough supply was available, and this had resulted in food imports being kept in check.