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Farmers to grow medicinal plants on mined-out lands

Published:Sunday | September 10, 2017 | 12:00 AM

The Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI) has entered into an agreement with Timeless Herbal Care, an international nutraceutical and pharmaceutical company, for the growing of medicinal plants on mined-out bauxite lands.

Under a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed last Tuesday, the JBI will provide technical training for farmers in the growing of the crops.

The farmers will sell the yield at market value to Timeless Herbal Care, which will extract the medicinal contents for the various markets that they serve.

The plants to be cultivated are guinea hen weed, moringa, black castor bean, and medical cannabis.

At the signing ceremony, held at the Ministry of Transport and Mining's Maxfield Avenue offices, portfolio minister Mike Henry welcomed the partnership, which, he said will offer major economic benefits for the farmers.

He noted that the crops targeted under the initiative are in high demand worldwide because the "nutraceutical value is immense".

"We must now move with urgency to capitalise on what is truly ours," he said.

Henry noted that the farmers would be taught new skills so that they can produce the plants to internationally accepted standards.

Minister of Culture, Gender Affairs, Entertain-ment and Sport Olivia Grange, who attended the signing ceremony, said that the project will create a new source of revenue and jobs from the growing, reaping, and export of nutraceuticals.

She said there are buyers in Canada who are waiting for products from Timeless Herbal Care.

Meanwhile, the company's chief executive officer, Courtney Betty, said the initiative was about working with communities, establishing international partnerships, and "developing Jamaica's natural plants, which are so valuable".