Wed | Oct 17, 2018

Growth & Jobs | St Bess to get first agro-economic zone

Published:Tuesday | September 18, 2018 | 12:00 AM
J.C. Hutchinson

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture, and Fisheries J.C. Hutchinson has said the Government is seeking to establish the first agro-economic zone in St Elizabeth.

"Hopefully, by next year, we will be able to set up our first agro-economic zone whereby the farmers in the parish would know that they have a ready market for whatever they grow," he said.

The minister was speaking during the Bethlehem Moravian College's annual commencement ceremony in Malvern in the parish last week Wednesday.

He explained that the zone would consist of a complex that would have facilities where grading, packaging, processing, and drying would be carried out.

Produce would be graded from A to C, with grade A crops to be exported and sold to the hotels. Grade B would go to the local market and grade C produce would be used to make purÈes and juices.

In the meanwhile, Hutchinson has committed to assisting with the development of the school farm at the Bethlehem Moravian College through the Agricultural Push Start Programme, which is focused on increasing the production of Irish potato, onion, and Scotch bonnet pepper.

He said that the institution should receive the support by October.

"We also need to provide you with two water drums. We also have the Irish potato and onion programmes we want you to be involved in," he added.

Under the Irish potato and onion programmes, the institution will be provided with seeds, chemicals, and fertiliser.

The commencement ceremony at the Bethlehem Moravian College was held to mark the start of the new academic year as well as to present the institution's peer leaders, class representatives and members of the student council.