Government says it is committed to safeguarding citrus industry

Government says it is committed to safeguarding citrus industry

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Print this page Email A Friend!


The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture, and Fisheries has stated its commitment to safeguarding the citrus industry. This commitment comes with the knowledge that the citrus industry while experiencing challenges of adverse weather conditions and disease remains lucrative, with an estimated total value of approximately $5 billion to $7 billion.

Interim chief executive officer at the National Fisheries Authority, Courtney Cole, said that the citrus sector is essential to Jamaica's economy in terms of employment, export and local consumption.

Approximately 96 per cent of total citrus production is utilised locally for the fresh fruit market or in processing, while four per cent is exported.

Cole said that the sector plays a key role in rural development. “It is an integrated industry, from on-farm production to distribution, processing, and packaging of juice and jams,” he noted.

“We are duty-bound to do everything possible to safeguard the industry,” he added.

Cole was speaking on behalf of Permanent Secretary, Dermon Spence, at the 21st annual general meeting of the Jamaica Citrus Protection Agency (JCPA) held recently at the Bybrook Sporting Facility in Bog Walk, St Catherine.

The citrus industry, once a central economic mainstay of parishes such as Clarendon, St Mary, St Ann, Manchester, Westmoreland, St James, and St Catherine, has faced a downturn in production over the last several years due to citrus greening and citrus tristeza.

Citrus production declined from 4.5 million boxes in 1999 to some 3.3 million boxes in 2009; the year citrus greening was first identified in Jamaica.

Production reached a low of about 1.6 million boxes in 2017, which was nearly half of the 1999 levels.

The ministry has invested millions in the revival of the industry through the production and distribution of clean plant material, training of farmers, the planting and cultivation of fruits, among other things.

“The ministry continues to offer support to the citrus industry and the JCPA by maintaining the germplasm collection at the Bodles Research Station with 53 varieties used for rootstock, indicator plants, and scions,” Cole said.

He said that the ministry is also facilitating the introduction of new citrus cultivars to meet the taste and needs of the Jamaican consumer.


Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaperlive


ADVERTISEMENT




POST A COMMENT

HOUSE RULES

1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy



comments powered by Disqus
ADVERTISEMENT

Poll

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
ADVERTISEMENT