Samuda lends support to Irish potato farmers
Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Karl Samuda is expressing support for Irish potato farmers as the Government seeks to achieve self-sufficiency in the crop's production.
He was addressing farmers at the launch of the 2016-17 Irish Potato Programme at the Shiloah Apostolic Church in Malton, Manchester, last Friday.
The National Irish Potato Programme is aimed at increasing production of the crop to fulfil 100 per cent of local consumption demand.
Samuda said that currently, Jamaica produces 85 per cent of the required amount of Irish potato needed each year, while adding that the figure had moved from the 40 per cent it was five years ago.
"This is a reflection of the cooperation and support both local and internationally, and of the commitment we see emerging in the country from those who are a part of the agricultural initiative," he stated.
Samuda further encouraged the farmers to continue to increase production, noting that efforts should be made at using new techniques and new varieties of seedlings.
"We have a journey to travel, but I am certain that with the support of the ministry through the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) team, I am sure that within the next four years, we are going to meet the 100 per cent of self-sufficiency in Irish potato production," he said.
Meanwhile, Samuda said farmers should ensure that they are registered members of the Jamaica Agricultural Society, the Production Management Organisation and RADA.
"As long as I am minister of agriculture, I will insist that whatever resources we have, we spend it with genuine registered farmers. You can group together in your organisations and get the same benefits," he said.