Agriculture ministry injects $240m into sector in light of COVID-19

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Agriculture ministry injects $240m into sector in light of COVID-19

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries says it has made a total of $240 million available to purchase excess produce from farmers as the country continues the fight against the COVID-19 virus.

The move forms part of efforts by the ministry to redistribute excess fruits and vegetables of farmers to local consumers, which would have been otherwise supplied to the hotel and hospitality sector.

Minister without portfolio JC Hutchinson noted that this will begin with immediate effect and the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) will be working with the farmers who have the excess.

“Purveyors would utilize the existing collection, storage and distribution mechanisms to purchase produce from farmers and move into the marketplace including large purchasers and communities and work places,” he said.

Hutchinson was speaking at a press conference at the ministry's Hope Gardens offices in Kingston today.

Other initiatives being undertaken by the ministry in light of COVID-19, includes the identification of several buyers and distributors with access to cold storage facilities who have identified willingness to continue purchase of agricultural produce from farmers and assisting in the process of purchasing produce at the farm level and distribution to final markets.

The ministry said agro-processors have also been met with and have increased their intake of items like pepper and scallion to be processed into mash.

In addition, juice makers have also committed to utilize more local products in their juices as well as to process storage, the ministry said.

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