Tue | Dec 18, 2018

Shaw calls for farmers to utilise new irrigation technology

Published:Friday | October 12, 2018 | 9:01 AM
Minister of Industry and Agriculture Audley Shaw (right), tours Isratech’s retail outlet with Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Benjamin Hodara, before the official opening of the company’s new complex in Reading, St James, on Wednesday, October 10, 2018 - Contributed photo

Minister of Industry and Agriculture Audley Shaw has called for farmers to utilise new irrigation technology to improve crop quality and to increase production. and 

Shaw said of the close to 200,000 acres of irrigable lands in Jamaica, about 12 to 13 per cent have been irrigated, adding that it is an issue that needs to be corrected.

Giving the keynote address at the opening ceremony for Isratech Jamaica Limited’s new retail outlet and complex in Reading, St James on Wednesday he said the technology is available to erect cost-effective irrigation systems for both small and large farmers.

In this regard, he urged farmers to take advantage of the products manufactured and supplied by Isratech to get their lands irrigated, especially for farms cultivated on slopes.

“The land is sloping, so you get your plastic tanks and you put them on the hillside and you get some Isratech lines with the drip irrigation and you run them into the fields where you’re planting. No energy is needed because gravity will take the water from the hillside down into the fields,” Shaw said.

In the meantime, Shaw has renewed the call for Jamaicans to invest more in farming on idle lands across the island.

“We have idle lands in St. Catherine, Clarendon, some areas of Westmoreland and Trelawny, all waiting on the promise of sugar to come back. Sugar is not going to come back to use the volume of idle lands that we have here in Jamaica,” he emphasised.

Shaw said that while the Ministry has received hundreds of applications from farmers for investment in the agricultural sector, more persons need to utilise lands made available from the decline in sugar-cane production.

He said that Jamaica’s economy cannot grow unless agriculture grows.

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