Jamaica: Agriculture in Hanover on the upswing

MONTEGO BAY,(JIS): Saturday, May 03, 2008 - Agricultural production in Hanover is on the upswing, as farmers recover from the effects of bad weather, including Hurricane Dean, last year.

Deputy Parish Agricultural Manager with the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Ransford Barnes, told JIS News that unfavourable weather conditions towards the end of 2007 and increased production costs, had serious effects on agricultural production in the parish, but the farmers are overcoming those setbacks.

"From reports and observations by our officers, farmers are striving to at least achieve a production level of the pre-Hurricane Dean situation, and from what we are seeing, this will soon be achieved," he stated.

Mr. Barnes pointed out that the production of vegetables, plantains, yams, and cereals were most affected by the bad weather conditions, but the farmers were able to source seedlings from the RADA nursery to begin the replanting process in a short time.

"Farmers are able to purchase these seedlings from us at a very minimal cost so that they can get back into production quickly," he said, noting that the Hanover RADA nursery produces seedlings for tomatoes, cabbage, sweet pepper, and hot pepper.

The RADA Deputy Agricultural Manager told JIS News that with the indigenous Lucea yam affected by bad weather conditions late last year, a number of farmers are planting yellow yam.

He noted further that the Fruit Tree Crop project, which involves the establishment of several hectares of fruit trees on holdings throughout the parish, is also going well, with an additional 12 participants joining the project in 2007, establishing an additional 20 hectares of crops.

The fruit crops being planted include ackee, june plum, avocado, naseberry, sweet sop, and sour sop.

Mr. Barnes commended the farmers for their resilience and assured them that the RADA office is prepared to work with them to overcome any difficulties that they may face.