Karen Sudu, Gleaner Writer
SPRING VILLAGE, St Catherine:CONTRACT FARMERS in Clarendon and St Catherine are expected to benefit soon from the Jamaica Broilers Group corn cultivation project.
"We would be encouraging contract farming of corn. There is a ready market, farmers have the farms and in this case they wouldn't have to worry about marketing their products, just concentrate on the business of farming. We would be able to offer a guaranteed price," said Conley Salmon, vice-president, marketing - feeds and agricultural supplies.
On Wednesday, Minister of Agriculture Roger Clarke participated in the harvesting of 100 acres of corn grown for local animal feed.
It took approximately 120 days to grow with Jamaica Broilers receiving technical assistance from Belize and the United States.
Salmon pointed out that given the success of the pilot, plans are now being made to replant next January, which should result in an increase of approximately 20 per cent above what was yielded during the pilot.
He said Jamaica Broilers Group sought to explore this option, as it would result in significant foreign exchange savings.
"We use approximately 11,000 metric tonnes a month of corn in our livestock feed ration, manufacturing our livestock and with a cost of $4 a bushel to $8 a bushel recently out of the United States, we decided that we would look at the economic justification of growing corn in Jamaica," Salmon stated.
While Salmon was unable to provide a dollar figure for the production, he said he was pleased with the outcome, which has resulted in savings for Jamaica Broilers and a boost for the local economy.
"We are very happy, it could have been an absolutely disaster. We didn't know what we were doing the first time round, so the fact that we got corn out of the ground ... the fellows from Belize think we have done fairly well, so we are happy we learnt a lot," said Salmon.