Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J. C. Hutchinson, is calling for more farmers in St. Ann to participate in the national Irish potato project.
The Ministry is looking to establish 150 acres of crop in the parish. Already, some 75 farmers in areas such as Free Hill are engaged in planting, and Minister Hutchinson wants others to get on board.
“Whatever land that you have and would like to be a part of this project let us know … so that we can acquire all the necessary inputs needed,” Mr. Hutchinson said.
He was addressing a special meeting of members of the Seville Farmers Benevolent Society held on January 19 in Priory.
Mr. Hutchinson informed that the Government would be providing farmers with seed and fertiliser as well assistance to get their produce to market.
He said the Ministry is in the process of putting the necessary structures in place to ensure that farmers have ready access to markets.
“For us to move forward we have to have a structure. Agriculture must be structured in a way whereby we can ensure that once farmers produce they have a market for their products,” he said.
He commended the Seville Farmers Benevolent Society for their successful efforts towards diversification of crops, resulting in the establishment of a high-tech mushroom project in Free Hill.
The national Irish potato project forms part of Government’s strategy towards achieving 100 per cent self-sufficiency in production of the crop.
The Ministry is looking to plant 1, 200 hectares of the produce for the 2016/17 crop period with an expected yield of 15 million kilograms of Irish potato.