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Corn production to triple shortly, says agri minister

Wednesday, September 19, 2012 | 3:34 PM    

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KINGSTON, Jamaica - The Government of Jamaica will triple its production of corn to counter rising prices for the product on the world market, according to agriculture minister Roger Clarke.

Clarke said that a number of local private sector entities, notably Jamaica Broilers, are now collaborating with government to expand corn production by 300 acres.

Jamaica Broilers has already established 100 acres, Clarke told Parliament yesterday.

The additional 200 acres will be sited in Amity Hall, St Catherine Clarke said, adding that another entity in Prospect, Hanover was preparing to put in 400 acres.

“As soon as the technology of growing the corn, using best practices, is perfected, the Government will move to mobilise farmers to grow corn to be purchased by Jamaica Broilers. The Government will be providing technical support as well as support with land clearing and preparation in the first instance,” Clarke said.

He appealed to farmers to “step up their game” and urged more private entities to join Government in corn production, arguing that the food crisis provided an opportunity to create wealth.

“Since 2009, the food price index has increased from 157 to 213, an increase of 36 per cent. This increase was more significant for cereals on which the country is heavily dependent, both as a primary food and as raw material for manufacturing animal feeds, which moved from 174 to 260, an increase of almost 50 per cent,” said Clarke.

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