Western Jamaica to get agro parks
THE MINISTRY of Agriculture and Fisheries is looking to establish additional agro parks in western Jamaica.
Permanent secretary in the ministry, Donovan Stanberry, said lands are being looked at in Westmoreland, St James and Hanover.
"The ministry is interested in extending the agro-park concept beyond the nine we are doing, because we think it's a sustainable way of conducting agricultural production. So, we have been looking around on this side of the island... for lands, and we have found a number of large acreages, owned by the Government, that we can put in the required infrastructure and mobilise farmers to engage production," he said.
Stanberry mentioned the Seven Rivers property in St James as on good location, as the site already has an irrigation system in place.
"We put in irrigation in 2006/07 and, now that those farmers have irrigation, we are going to put in some infrastructure like roads, and so on, and engage the farmers to plant bananas for the export market," Stanberry said. He said the banana could be intercropped with coffee "because that area is also a coffee area."
Stanberry said the Shettlewood property in Hanover, which has "a good water supply", is also being looked at, as well as Enfield in Darliston, Westmoreland, where, he said, farmers are waiting to be engaged in production.
"The good thing about the properties on this (western) side of the island is that they have abundant water resources, either from rainfall or rivers. The Seven Rivers and Shettlewood properties, the Great River runs through them, and the Enfield property has good rainfall. So we can engage a sustainable level of production without putting in irrigation systems," he pointed out.