JP Tropical Foods Limited, a subsidiary of Jamaica Producers Group, will lay off 80 workers alongside plans to delay the replanting of the remaining 25 per cent of its St Mary banana farm.
The farm will return to full production in two years, the company said Thursday.
JP said 420 acres of its 550-acre St Mary banana farm was replanted. Hurricane Sandy destroyed the vast majority of the farm's crop in late October. The harvesting of the new banana crop will commence in June.
Replanting of the remaining acreages will be delayed until after the 2013 hurricane season.
JP said in a release that following discussions with the unions, it decided to cut the positions of 80 workers in its banana operations, adding that "the parties had concluded that the alternatives of extended layoffs, or part-time work arrangements, would be more economically difficult for workers during the period in which the farms were not in full production".
David Martin, general manager of JP Tropical Foods, said the company was considering producing additional acreages of bananas in "a parish in western Jamaica" - with a different profile and incidence of hurricane damage - to satisfy the longer-term growth in market demand.
"We are well aware of the fact that our customers are anxious to see the return of their favourite fruit to supermarket shelves and roadside vendors, and our team is doing everything we can to ensure that our farm yields and fruit quality are better than ever," Martin said.
He also advised that the JP Tropical Foods snack factory would return to full production by August.
In addition, Martin said that JP Tropical Foods had commenced the expansion of its pineapple crop and was exploring the opportunity of a business venture with Red Stripe to increase production of cassava in St Mary.
Brewery company Red Stripe Jamaica and JP Group announced their partnership earlier this month, which initially centres on a pilot test to grow cassava in the quantity and quality needed by the brewery to manufacture its beer.
The partnership is to be expanded if the pilot pans out. The partners have already signalled that the early results have been promising.
JP Group is yet to disclose the financial impact of Hurricane Sandy, but already, the group has recorded a plunge in operating profit year to date ending September 2012 at J$1.7m, compared with J$74m for the comparable period in 2011.
The fourth quarter results are also expected to be poor.
"Hurricane Sandy made a direct hit on our farms on October 24, 2012 and destroyed approximately 90 per cent of our crop," said JP in its financial third-quarter results.