THERE IS money to be made from growing rice locally. That is the finding of a group of consultants who conducted a study on the economic viability of growing rice in Jamaica.
According to the study, commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture, locally grown rice should account for 10 per cent of the current consumption.
This would mean about 10,000 tonnes of rice being produced here.
To cultivate this quantity, 5,000 acres of land would be needed. The consultants say it would cost more than US$6.5 million (J$461.5 million) to grow this amount of rice, but the venture would pay off in quick time.
Net cash inflow
According to the consultants, the net cash inflow in the first year would be US$3.6 million (J$255.6 million). This would increase to more than US$36.5 million (J$2.6 billion) by the 10th year of cultivation.
The finding of the consultants has excited Agriculture Minister Dr Christopher Tufton, who is slated to meet with a group of potential local investors this week.
Tufton says he will outline the findings of the study while looking at the possibility of starting the commercial growing of rice before the end of this year.
"The reports are encouraging," Tufton said.
Next month, Jamaica will begin its experiment with the planting of four or five different types of rice on a small scale to determine which would be best for the country.