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Africa 27/03/2024

Jamaica: Minister Green applauds surge in Jamaica’s Irish potato production

Jamaica’s Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Mining, Hon. Floyd Green, expressed optimism as he observed a notable surge in domestic Irish potato production during a recent tour of farms in Hinds Town, St. Ann.

The minister, joined by key officials from the Ministry and the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), highlighted significant strides made by local farmers in surpassing both national and global averages for potato yields per hectare.

Record-breaking performance

Speaking with JIS News, Mr. Green lauded the efforts of farmers, acknowledging their dedication and hard work, which have contributed to record-breaking production metrics. 

“Our farmers appear to have put in a lot of work, along with the RADA team,” he remarked, commending the agency for its support. 

This year’s surge in production marks a stark contrast to the challenges faced by the Irish potato programme in the previous year, primarily due to adverse weather conditions such as drought.

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Strategic Measures for Sustainable Growth

To mitigate potential future challenges, Minister Green emphasized the importance of proactive measures. 

He urged Ministry teams to intensify efforts and reassess technical support provided to farmers, particularly in ensuring adequate access to water resources.

The Ministry’s commitment to addressing water scarcity includes the installation of water catchment facilities, facilitating rainwater harvesting to support irrigation during dry spells.

Diversification Efforts

In addition to potato production, Minister Green highlighted the Ministry’s focus on diversification initiatives, particularly through the Production Incentive Programme (PIP).

He noted a growing trend among farmers venturing into hot pepper cultivation, a sector actively promoted by the Ministry.

With an uptick in the exportation of sauces, the Minister stressed the importance of sustaining raw material supply to bolster this burgeoning market segment.

Prioritizing Food Security

Underscoring the Ministry’s overarching goals, Minister Green reaffirmed the paramount importance of food security. The PIP, a flagship initiative aimed at enhancing agricultural productivity, plays a pivotal role in achieving this objective. 

By fostering increased output, income generation, and foreign exchange earnings, the programme contributes to rural development while safeguarding national food security interests.

Forward momentum

As Minister Green concluded the farm tour, he reiterated the Ministry’s unwavering commitment to driving agricultural production.

With a keen focus on sustaining positive momentum, he emphasized the imperative of prioritizing food security as a fundamental national priority. 

Joining him in this endeavor were Minister of State in the Agriculture Ministry, Hon. Franklin Witter, Permanent Secretary, Dermon Spence, and other dignitaries representing both the Ministry and RADA.


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