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Production under way at Holland Agro-Economic Zone


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February 2020
 

Hon J.C. Hutchinson (right), Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, points to castor beans under cultivation at the Holland Agro-Economic Zone in St. Elizabeth during a tour by Dr Crispim Moreira (left), Food and Agriculture Organization Representative in Jamaica, The Bahamas and Belize, on February 7, 2020. At centre is Peter Thompson, Chief Executive Officer, Rural Agricultural Development Authority. The 2,400- acre property, former sugar cane lands, has been leased by Holland Producers Ltd. Currently, 65 small farmers are engaged in the cultivation of a variety of crops including papaya, melon, sweet pepper, cantaloupe, sorrel, and sweet potato.

Above Body

 11 Feb 2020    communications   

Some 65 small farmers are currently engaged in the cultivation of a variety of crops including papaya, melon, sweet pepper, cantaloupe, sorrel, and sweet potato, on approximately 850 acres of land at Holland in St. Elizabeth where Jamaica’s first agro-economic zone is being established.
The 2,400-acre property will comprise farms as well as grading, packaging and processing facilities, where farmers can sell their produce.
Speaking during a tour of the property on February 7, Hon. J. C. Hutchinson, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, explained to the Food and Agriculture Organization Representative to Jamaica, The Bahamas and Belize, Dr. Crispim Moreira, that the goal of the project is to establish an agro-economic zone where the crops cultivated on the property would be sold to the complex. These produce would then be graded, packaged and sold to the hotel sector, export and local markets, while the remainder would be processed.
Fruit juice and other value-added products, Minister Hutchinson said, will go towards the school-feeding programme, targeting the breakfast programme.
The plans also include the allocation of 400 acres of the property to the Airport Authority of Jamaica for expansion of the airstrip and another 300 acres will be reserved for the rearing of the cattle which are now roaming the property.
Describing the project as a very interesting model, Dr. Moreira expressed a desire to see it multiplied throughout the country and said the FAO would be willing to provide the Government with support.
“I am very excited…I think Jamaica can show the way for the other countries, especially the Caribbean,” Dr. Moreira said.
The former sugar cane lands have been leased to Holland Property Limited with some 229 small famers occupying between 1 and 20 acres.

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The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries (MICAF) has been charged with the responsibility of driving the integration of the production of primary agricultural produce along all the stages of the supply chain through to value added and facilitating full commercialization of outputs of the agriculture, manufacturing, and service sectors.

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