Jamaica News: Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw, says that a 500-hectare agro park will be established for the cultivation of mango in order to facilitate the export of the fruit to the United States (US).
He said that the orchard will be set up in the St. Catherine/Clarendon area, as mangoes do well in those areas.
“It has great opportunities for employment, for profit-making,” the Minister noted while addressing an agricultural forum on Wednesday (October 3) at the Medallion Hall Hotel in St. Andrew.
He said that for fresh mangoes to be exported into US territories, certain rules must be observed, hence the need for a clustered farm.
This will enable the US authorities to track a shipment directly to the orchard of produce if a pest is detected.
“We have to have mango orchards, properly maintained, properly supervised; it can be the first of many,” he pointed out.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has stipulated certain phytosanitary requirements for the export of the fruit into the country. These include that the fruits must be treated using a combination of mitigation measures for certain fruit flies, soft scale insects and diseases, and must be inspected prior to export from Jamaica, and be found free of those pests and diseases.
It is estimated that the island can export about 261 metric tonnes of mangoes annually to the US.
Minister Shaw said that for those mangoes that cannot be sold fresh “you can create a puree industry. Thousands of children, instead of drinking bag juice, can drink mango juice and other types of fruit (juices) that we can produce,” he pointed out.
Earlier in his presentation, the Minister told the gathering that he is focusing on productivity in the agricultural sector and has received offers of assistance in this effort from India and Argentina.
These countries, he noted, have “shown us what agricultural production can really mean in the creation of wealth”.
The forum brought together key organisations in the agricultural sector to focus on shared resources, knowledge transfer and capacity building for the development of a pluralistic rural extension service for farmers.
Under pluralistic systems, different types of agricultural and agribusiness advisory services or different providers work together to provide extension services.
It is characterised by the coexistence of multiple public, private, and mixed extension systems and approaches; multiple providers and types of services; diverse funding streams; and multiple sources of information – all of which benefit from some degree of coordination and regulation that facilitates interaction and learning.
Source: JIS News