SOME 20 extension officers employed to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries have been trained in the use of a mechanical sorrel harvester, capable of reaping 40 kilogrammes of sorrel in an hour. The two-day training session was conducted by two Mexican specialists and made possible by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture.
The machine is the first of its kind in Jamaica and is expected to revolutionise and significantly enhance the pace of harvesting sorrel, with its introduction timed to coincide with the start of the traditional sorrel season.
Noting that on average two persons spend about 15 days reaping one acre of the Christmas favourite, Agriculture Minister Roger Clarke expressed hope that the training would be extended to farmer groups and agro-processors, as well as small and medium entrepreneurs.
Meanwhile, Mexican Ambassador Gerardo Lozano underscored his government's commitment to providing assistance and cooperation to the local agricultural sector. "I would like to reiterate Mexico's commitment to continue consolidating our co-operation exchanges with Jamaica within the primary field of agriculture modernisation, crop health and food safety," he said during the launch of the training session.
The machine was designed and manufactured by the University of Chapingo, Mexico.