Hon J.C. Hutchinson (centre), Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, plants red peas along with (from left) Melody Garwood, Coordinator of the Top Burnt Ground Women Farmers Group, Damion Young, Chief Executive Officer, Home Grown Produce, Winsome Witter, President, May Pen Chamber of Commerce & Industry, and Peter Thompson, CEO, Rural Agricultural Development Authority. The occasion was the launch of Home Grown Produce’s red peas project at Spalding, Clarendon, on November 1, 2019.
Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon J.C. Hutchinson, is urging farmers to plant more red peas.
While noting the drastic reduction in production since 1999, where production moved from 1,669 tonnes to 506 tonnes in 2008, Minister Hutchinson pointed out that import of red peas had increased by 395 tonnes in 2018, moving from 7,427 tonnes in 2017 to 7,642 in 2018.
“This importation is unsustainable. Much of that imported red peas could be grown in Jamaica, but we have to remain consistent in our production,” said Minister Hutchinson, as he addressed farmers and stakeholders at the launch of Home Grown Produce Red Peas Project in Spalding, Clarendon, on November 1, 2019.
In commending Home Grown Produce for its initiative, Minister Hutchinson stated that there was a ready market for red peas and that the Ministry would be including red peas as one of its priority crops and was looking at importing red peas seed varieties for planting that are suitable for Jamaica’s climatic conditions.
Through this project, Home Grown Produce, the enterprise arm of the Central Jamaica Social Development Initiative, is aiming to facilitate a guaranteed and consistent production and supply of red peas and has signed contracts with several farmers in Clarendon, St. Elizabeth, Manchester and St. Catherine.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Peter Thompson, had high praises for Home Grown Produce and encouraged other private sector companies to come on board and set up similar marketing companies.
Mr Thompson pledged his agency’s support for the project and said that RADA would be working with farmers to build the industry.
Noting that red peas is a soil builder, Mr. Thompson encouraged the farmers to intercrop red peas with other crops such as Irish potato.
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