MINISTER of Agriculture and Fisheries Roger Clarke says that the current price of corn should make it more attractive to local farmers.
"At the price at which corn was before the current increase in prices, it probably was not profitable but, having reached this stage, if you bring technology to bear and grow it in an efficient way, you probably will be able to compete," he told the House of Representatives last Tuesday.
He said that as soon as corn growing technology involving the use of best practices is perfected, the Government will move to mobilise farmers to grow corn for local feed producers.
"We are working out the modalities and the feed companies are working on a desirable or satisfying price that could be paid to the farmers," he responded to questions from opposition spokesperson on agriculture, JC Hutchinson.
Clarke said that in response to the rising prices, the government is collaborating with a number of private companies, including Jamaica Broilers Limited, to expand corn production. He added that, already, the company has established 100 acres of corn, and plans to expand to 300 acres, shortly.
The Government, in partnership with Jamaica Broilers, will also be cultivating some 200 acres of corn at Amity Hall, St Catherine, while another entity in Prospect, Hanover, will be putting in 400 acres.
"The Government will be providing technical support as well as support with land clearing and preparation in the first instance," Minister Clarke stated.
He appealed to farmers to "step up their game" and for more private entities to join the Government in corn production, as the food crisis provides an opportunity to create wealth.