Uptick in domestic Irish Potato production Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Mining, Floyd Green, says there is an uptick in domestic Irish potato production.

Green, following a recent tour of potato and hot pepper farms in Hinds Town, St. Ann, said he was impressed with the level of production by the country’s farmers so far this year.

“We have seen some record production metrics and farmers are surpassing our national averages and even surpassing, in some instances, world averages for the production of Irish potatoes per hectare,” he stated.

“Our farmers appear to have put in a lot of work, along with the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) team, and I want to commend RADA. We are seeing an uptick in Irish potato production for 2024,” Green informed.

He said the growth in production is a welcome change from the challenges experienced by the Irish potato programme last year due to drought.

 Green said to prevent a recurrence of issues, teams from the Ministry were asked to “redouble their efforts, to look at the programme, to look bacat the technical support that they were providing the farmers and to look at providing more access to water, so that our farmers will have better outcomes in this production cycle.”

He indicated that several farmers have gone into hot pepper production which the Ministry has been driving through its Production Incentive Programme (PIP).

Noting that there has been an increase in the exportation of sauces, the Minister maintained that “we want to ensure that we have the raw material that is needed to keep that sector moving.”

The PIP is a Ministry initiative aimed at boosting agricultural production to ensure food security, increase income generation and foreign exchange earnings, and promote rural development.

The programme is executed through RADA.

Mr. Green noted that the programme is also ensuring the placement of water catchment facilities, which will assist farmers to harvest rainwater which they can utilise during the dry season.

He assured that the Ministry will continue to drive production to ensure that the focus remains on food security as the number one priority.

Accompanying Mr. Green on the tour of the farms were Minister of State in the Agriculture Ministry, Hon. Franklin Witter, Permanent Secretary, Dermon Spence, and other representatives from the Ministry and RADA.