JAMAICA: Ministry to Boost Irish Potato Production - EntornoInteligente

Jamaica Information / Story Highlights The Ministry of Agriculture will be ramping up Irish potato production to 15 million kilograms this year in order to satisfy local demand for the produce. Chief Executive Officer of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Lenworth Fulton, said in order to meet the target 1,200 hectares of the crop will be planted. Imports of the produce declined significantly from 9.3 million kilograms in 2008, to 2.2 million in 2013, a reduction of more than 75 per cent. At the same time, national self-sufficiency has moved from 32 per cent to between 85 and 90 per cent.

The Ministry of Agriculture will be ramping up Irish potato production to 15 million kilograms this year in order to satisfy local demand for the produce.

Chief Executive Officer of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Lenworth Fulton, said in order to meet the target 1,200 hectares of the crop will be planted.

“If we are not struck with the severe drought like last year, this will give us 14-15 million kilograms of potato and our demand for local consumption is around 15 million kilograms per year,? he said, while addressing a recent JIS Think Tank.

The move is in keeping with the import substitution programme, aimed at boosting the production of targeted crops to reduce the country?s import bill.

“We have embarked on import substitution programme, which began with Irish potato. The aim is to provide for the total table Irish potato need of this country by 2016-2017,? Mr. Fulton said.

Imports of the produce declined significantly from 9.3 million kilograms in 2008, to 2.2 million in 2013, a reduction of more than 75 per cent. At the same time, national self-sufficiency has moved from 32 per cent to between 85 and 90 per cent.

The 2014 Irish potato crop was the best in 60 years with production of some 11 million kilograms from the over 915 hectares planted.

Meanwhile, the Ministry is also looking to significantly increase the production of onions. Some 450 farmers will be involved in production for 2015/2016 crop year.

Currently, Jamaica imports over 9, 000 metric tonnes of onion annually costing US$3.6 million and the aim is to reverse the trend.

Measures put in place have resulted in an increase in onion production of over 10,000 metric tonnes per year from 1,000 metric tonnes two years ago.

“We plan to meet the consumption target in 2018 and beyond and we will seek export markets beginning with our CARCOM neighbours,? Mr. Fulton said.

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