Multi-million dollar plan to revive ‘Lucea Yam’
Collin Henry, who heads the Hanover offices of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), says a multimillion-dollar project is to be implemented in the parish in a bid to revamp the cultivation of the renowned Lucea yam.
Henry made the disclosure while making a report on behalf of the government agency during last week's meeting of the Hanover Parish Council in Lucea.
"Lucea yam is a major crop in the parish, and we are going to restart the production of the Lucea yam so that we can ... improve [the lives of] rural farmers and their families," said Henry. "So, a project document has been prepared and submitted to our head office to the tune of $3.2 million, and we have received approval for this project. Currently, a management committee has been established to manage and implement this project."
The parish manager's revelations come less than a month after several stakeholders at The Gleaner's Job Creation, Growth and Investment Forum in Lucea lamented the fact that the cultivation of the Lucea yam, which was once a major export crop, had declined drastically. They complained that it was very hard to obtain a piece of the tuber in any of the parish's markets.
During the last decade, at least one attempt was made to boost the cultivation of the Lucea yam, which is grown
mainly in Cascade and its neighbouring districts such as Patty Hill, Smithfield, Pondside, Maryland, and other farming communities in the parish's interior.
In January 2009, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) contributed $225,000 to the Cascade Producers Marketing Organisation to assist in the production of the Lucea yam. That project was facilitated under the FAO's Initiative on Soaring Food Prices project.
At the time, the Jamaica Information Service reported that the FAO had channelled the funds through an agreement with RADA, "specifically for the production of Lucea yams, and is aimed at restarting and boosting the specialised area of yam production".