'Agro-parks welcome in St James'
President of the Jamaica Agricultural Society's (JAS) St James chapter, Glendon Harris, is welcoming plans by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries to establish agro-parks in western Jamaica, and says such a move would revitalise food cultivation and production in St James.
"It is a welcome move, as western Jamaica has been critical in agricultural production for many years. Right here in Montego Bay, we had about three or four agro-parks, so we have fallen that badly that currently we are not exporting much from western Jamaica," Harris, who is also mayor of Montego Bay and councillor for the Maroon Town division, told The Gleaner on Thursday.
Speaking about St James' viability as an area where new agro-parks could be established, Harris listed a number of food crops that could potentially boost the parish's agricultural market.
"We have signs of improvement in production, as St James is leading in production of ginger, so potential is there; we just need to capitalise on it," said Harris. "We have potential to export eating and cooking bananas to varied markets at this time. For pineapple, there has been an injection of the new MR2 variety, as persons have been purchasing and planting the new variety."
Harris also pointed out a number of potential sites for agro-parks in St James, including the Seven Rivers area, which has been considered by the agriculture ministry, due to it having an established irrigation system.
- Christopher Thomas