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Turmeric and ginger project yields $291m in earnings

Monday, March 04, 2013 | 4:46 PM    

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Ministry of Agriculture has reported earnings of some $247 million from 207 acres of ginger and $44 million from 123 acres of turmeric, totalling $291 million during last year.

The Turmeric and Ginger project, which was launched in February 2012, has recorded the impressive results, despite the effects of drought and Hurricane Sandy in October last year, the Ministry said.

Some 384 farmers have been assisted to cultivate 422 acres of turmeric and ginger under the project.

General Manager of the Export Division in the Agriculture Ministry, Sylburn Thomas, says the Ministry is committed to accelerating the growth of the ginger and turmeric industries, and in this regard will be significantly expanding the project to engage more farmers to produce at least 60 per cent of current demand this year and 100 per cent by 2014.

Thomas says the Ministry has strategically introduced ginger and turmeric cultivation in its agro parks to ensure achievement of this objective.

According to Thomas, in order to unlock the economic potential of these industries, the Ministry is continuing its research programme in ginger and turmeric agronomy and pest and disease management.

The project has been implemented island wide, but ginger is mostly concentrated in the parishes of Clarendon, St Thomas, Trelawny, Portland, and St James, while the turmeric project is mostly located in the parishes of Clarendon, Westmoreland, St. Thomas, Trelawny, St. Catherine and St. Mary.

Four greenhouses have also been set up at the Ministry’s research stations in Orange River, St Mary; Bodles, St Catherine; and Montpelier, St James, to focus on hydroponic technology and overall economic optimisation of this production system.

“There is growing global demand for both ginger and turmeric. Current demand exists for 21,000 metric tonnes of Jamaican ginger valued at $3 billion and 676 metric tonnes of Jamaican turmeric, valued at $190 million. The products are being exported in quantities sufficient to retain short-term market interests, while the Ministry addresses the structural supply hurdle through its development programmes,” Thomas said.

The Agriculture Ministry currently contracts farmers to produce ginger and turmeric at guaranteed prices.

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