Government allots $7.5m to rescue St Thomas onion farmers facing bankruptcy
The Government has provided a $7.5 million grant to help farmers in the St Thomas based Plantain Garden River Agro Park, who have incurred losses from a recent onion crop.
The failure of the Agro-Invest Corporation (AIC) and other government agencies to provide technical advice has been blamed for the bankruptcy which is now facing many farmers.
The farmers say the absence of the necessary and timely technical advice was a major factor in crops underperforming.
It has also been alleged that mismanagement on the part of AIC has left the farmers owing millions to the St Thomas Co-operative Credit Union.
While admitting that there were shortcomings the agriculture ministry officials said at a press conference yesterday that the farmers should take some of the blame.
Permanent secretary Donovan Stanberry said farmers failed to follow the guidance of the AIC.
Meanwhile, agriculture minister Roger Clarke, admitted that the crop failed because the wrong irrigation system was used and said farmers were not given the right chemicals to fight the growth of weed.
He said a resuscitation plan has been develop to turn around the agro-park.
Clarke said the plan includes financing for land preparation, chemicals and labour.
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