Sun | Nov 29, 2020

Noranda expands in agriculture - Stages first small-scaleagri-mining expo

Published:Tuesday | June 4, 2019 | 12:00 AMCarl Gilchrist/Gleaner Writer
A stall with vegetables from farmers in the Watt Town cluster on display at Noranda’s agriculture and mining expo
Three students from Bethany Primary School show off their painted faces.
Top farmer Louise Lawrence (centre, with trophy) and other farmers in the Watt Town cluster.
A display by Brown’s Town High School
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More than 100 small-scale farmers; scores of students from schools across St Ann, accompanied by teachers; and small and big businesses that focus on agriculture and mining were among those whose contributions led to a successful first staging of Noranda Bauxite’s Agriculture Meets Mining expo at the Port Rhoades Sports Club in Discovery Bay, St Ann.

The event impacted farmers and communities in Noranda’s mining areas and signalled the company’s deep involvement in agriculture and its commitment to go even deeper in that industry.

“Much of what was displayed here today is in support of the mining minister’s challenge to demonstrate the importance and value of responsible mining,” General Manager Delroy Dell told the gathering that swelled to an impressive number despite the rain.

In 2009, Noranda, through a partnership with the Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI), the Rural Agricultural Development Authority, and the Jamaica Greenhouse Association, started a greenhouse project with three greenhouses in Burnt Ground and two water-storage areas.

Today, Dell disclosed that the programme has expanded to 125 greenhouses in three clusters in Watt Town, Nine Miles/Tobolsky and Burnt Ground and water-storage facilities with a capacity of more than 12 million gallons.

The greenhouses are located in schools and mined-out land.

PARTNERSHIPS

Additionally, Noranda has partnered with the JBI and the Jamaica Social Investment Fund to launch a programme that has seen the introduction of about 300 greenhouses across the island.

The general manager said the company’s employees share the achievements and innovations in land use, which include the pioneering and use of greenhouse technology on mined-out land, the growing of crops on rehabilitated land, and the launch of aquaculture and hydroponic farming on mined-out land, which is a first in the industry.

The products on display bore testimony to the success of the greenhouse technology in Noranda’s mined-out areas.

Several schools which participate in the company’s school-gardening programme had impressive displays dominated by fresh vegetables, ground produce and agriculture by-products.

“Contrary to the impression conveyed that our business is confined to mining and shipping of red dirt, the expo displays how the bauxite landscape today is dotted with schools, colleges, sports fields, community centres, clinics, small and large businesses, and GET Start projects, all bearing the stamp of Noranda and the company’s outreach programme,” Dell boasted.

Transport and Mining Minister Robert Montague and minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, J.C. Hutchinson, hailed Noranda’s progress in agriculture in their presentations at the expo’s opening ceremony.

Several schools won prizes in poster and essay competitions. Inverness Primary won the poster competition for primary schools, while in the essay competition, Gavin Gordon of York Castle won the high-school category and Martina Nelson of Alva Primary won for that level. Louise Lawrence of the Watt Town cluster was adjudged champion farmer.