Fri | Mar 5, 2021

Agriculture Ministry targets increased strawberry production

Published:Tuesday | January 26, 2021 | 2:13 PM
Floyd Green (3rd left), Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, views strawberries reaped from Cecil Rope’s (2nd right) farm in Rock Spring, Trelawny, along with (from left), Member of Parliament for south Trelawny Marisa Dalrymple-Philbert, Peter Thompson, Chief Executive Officer, Rural Agricultural Development Authority, and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dermon Spence. ((contributed photo)

Farmers in South Trelawny are being encouraged to intercrop yam with the cultivation of strawberries, one of 12 crops being promoted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries under its Production Incentive Programme (PIP).

Speaking at a meeting with farmers at Albert Town High School in Trelawny on January 22, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Floyd Green, while acknowledging that Trelawny farmers are known for their expertise in planting yams, stressed the importance of diversification to ensure a better return on their investment.

Noting that Trelawny used to be a major strawberry-producing area, Minister Green lamented the reduction in production, stating that this has been replaced with imports.

“Trelawny, as you know, has a great opportunity because of the huge hospitality sector …with all of the hotels  - the biggest importers of strawberries are our hotels,” said Green.

The Agriculture Minister said the Ministry was looking at import substitution by getting strawberry production back up in the areas that are known for growing strawberries and would provide technical support as well as planting material.

“We have renovated our Top Mountain Research Station to focus just on strawberry production looking at all the variables to include the varieties.”

Under the PIP, Trelawny is one of three parishes being targeted for increased strawberry production with focus on the propagation and provision of clean planting material to select farmers. Some 41 farmers are participating in the programme to include the parishes of St Andrew and Manchester covering 5 hectares of land.

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