Mon | Dec 11, 2017

Hanover to get agro-economic zone

Published:Monday | July 10, 2017 | 12:00 AMBryan Miller

Western Bureau:

J.C. Hutchinson, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, says the Government and a private investor are far advanced in discussions over the opening of an agro-economic zone in Hanover.

Addressing the handover ceremony for a new state-of-the-art honey extraction and bottling facility to the Hanover Bee Farmers Co-operative Society in Lucea last Thursday, Hutchinson said that, when established, the facility would serve as a regional one.

"What is that agro-economic zone?" Hutchinson asked rhetorically. "It is one where it will be a complex, where you have grading, packaging, processing, cold storage facility, drying facility, where the farmers of Hanover, Westmoreland and St James will have a ready market for their produce."

Hutchinson stressed that, in such a situation, there would be no left-overs from agricultural production, as every product, irrespective of grade, will be fully utilised, either for direct food sale or for processing.

"Everything that the farmer grows, it will be marketed, it will be taken off to the agro-economic zone, where there it will be graded. Grade A goes to the hotel and export market, grade B goes to the local market, and the grade C, which is usually left in the field, is then processed," said Hutchinson.

The minister added that some of the processed products would be directed into the Government's school-feeding programme, which should be fully functioning at some time in 2018 in all primary and secondary schools.

"And so this proposed facility in Hanover is one where it is already on stream... the gentleman (private investor) is moving very fast, making sure that the facility will be up and going to a certain extent by next year," stated Hutchinson, without naming the investor.