General manager of the Christiana Potato Growers Association (CPGA), Alvin Murray, is urging farmers to retool in order to maximise production and earnings.
Speaking at the annual general meeting of the St. Elizabeth Cooperative Credit Union last Saturday, Mr. Murray encouraged farmers to make greater use of greenhouse technology to minimise production costs and increase yields and earnings.
Advantages of greenhouse technology
Mr. Murray, in outlining the advantages of greenhouse technology, said it costs about $500,000 to set up a typical greenhouse. "Greenhouse farming takes 10 times less water than the conventional approach to farming. It is more cost-effective, larger production yields and it is far more environmentally friendly," he said.
At the same time, he urged financial institutions to make available more loans at lower interest rates to farmers.
However, Mr. Murray pointed out one drawback in using the technology. "Greenhouse farming, in my view, is not feasible everywhere in the country, but certainly there are some areas in St. Elizabeth which are ideal for this kind of new innovation in agriculture," he noted.
He identified Malvern and Balaclava as two areas in the parish that would be conducive to this type of farming.
In the meantime, the CPGA general manager is advocating greater vigilance in reclaiming mined-out bauxite lands to benefit the agriculturalsector.
- Rayon Dyer