Fri | Feb 28, 2020

More agro-parks to come

Published:Friday | April 24, 2015 | 12:00 AM
A section of Yallas Agro-Park. Transferring the onion seedlings which have been thinned out is a time-consuming job, and this worker protects her face from the broiling sun on one of the farms in Heartease which forms part of the Yallahs Agro-Park in St Thomas.

FIVE MORE agro-parks are being planned for Jamaica, which when brought into production will move the number of parks to 14.

The new parks are to be implemented at Hounslow/Spring Ground in St Elizabeth, Unity/ Nonsuch in St Mary, Seven Rivers and Sutherland in St James and Enfield in Westmoreland.

Agriculture Minister Derrick Kellier said since initiating the agro-park project two years ago, some $718 million has been spent to outfit over 754 hectares of land with modern infrastructure for production.

Kellier said this year, the Government will, among other things, extend the Hounslow irrigation system and construct farm roads to complement the packing house and the pepper mash facility to make the new facility.

The minister also said there are plans to install an irrigation system at Spring Ground to put some 200 acres of land under production.

Hugh Buchanan, the member of parliament for South West St Elizabeth, welcomed the Hounslow agro-park and has also called for one to be established at Flagaman.

"We are looking forward to increased production across the different fields in which the agro-park will operate," Buchanan told The Gleaner.

He added: "The fact that an agro-park is coming in, we hope that it will serve as motivation for those persons who have had these lands idle, now they can come and and exploit the benefits," the MP said.

Buchanan has said that the Government should consider putting in place a policy to put arable lands into the hands of farmers to boost production. He said for Hounslow, "it is an opportunity for them to breathe again", even as he called for Kellier to give similar attention to Flagaman.

"The Hounslow system is one. The Little Park/Bacon system should be a part of it, and there needs to be an extension of that system or a new system in the Flagaman area," Buchanan said.