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Agri sector records growth

Published:Monday | February 1, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Left: The production of yam increased 26.7 per cent over 2008. Right: The production of plantains, the fruit which this rural woman carries on her head, increased in 2009. - File

The Ministry of Agriculture is boasting increased gross output of 23.1 per cent for the entire agricultural sector for the fourth quarter of 2009.

The ministry has said preliminary estimates indicate that there was also a 13 per cent growth in the sector for last year.

Numbers released from the Data Bank and Evaluation Division of the Ministry of Agriculture also showed that the domestic crop subsection recorded a 33.5 per cent increase in production for the fourth quarter of 2009, and a 22.4 per cent increase for the year.

The ministry attributed the figures to increased interest and investments supported by targeted interventions in productivity and marketing by the Ministry of Agriculture.

Protracted drought

These figures come in light of protracted drought experienced by the island and turbulent economic circumstances.

The increase in gross output from the agricultural industry is calculated to lead to a 20.5 per cent increase in gross domestic product (GDP) contribution for the quarter.

In terms of domestic crop production, figures from the ministry showed that all crop groups (vegetables, sorrell, potatoes, fruits, plantains etc.), with the exception of legumes, which recorded a 1.2 per cent decline, showed significant increases in production.

These increases ranged from a low of 8.6 per cent for fruits to a high of 131.2 per cent for plantains. In addition to plantains, increases were recorded by condiments (63.0 per cent), vegetables (40.6 per cent), cereals (32.4 per cent), yams (26.7 0 per cent) and potatoes (23.5 per cent).

All parishes reported an increase in production for the quarter, with Portland recording the highest increase with 160.9 per cent. In terms of traditional crops, based on the preliminary estimates, the sector will show an increase of more than 155 per cent for the quarter.