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Agro-parks failing, says Opposition

Published:Thursday | May 8, 2014 | 2:18 PM

The Opposition Jamaica Labour Party says the agro-parks intended by the Government to boost production and employment are not achieving their goals.

Spokesperson in Agriculture J.C. Hutchinson made the assertion as he contributed to the Sectoral Debate yesterday in the House of Representatives.

Hutchinson pointed to the situation unfolding at the Plantain Garden agro-park in St Thomas where farmers are facing bankruptcy after suffering crop failure last year.

The loss from the pepper and calalloo crops resulted in farmers owing millions to the St Thomas Co-operative Credit Union.

Hutchinson dismissed Agriculture Minister Roger Clarke’s argument in January that he was at a loss as to why a resuscitation plan for the farmers was abandoned.

He says the crops were bound to fail because the Government did not provide farmers with the required tools or inputs from the beginning.

The Agriculture Ministry reported in January that the failure of the Agro-Invest Corporation and other government agencies to provide necessary and timely technical advice to farmers was a major cause of the failure.

Nine agro parks, are to be implemented over the next three years at a cost of US$8 million.

They are expected to result in the creation of employment, increase agricultural output, reduce the national food import bill, and stimulate food exports.


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