Infrastructure works, valued at approximately $501.6 million, are to be carried out on three of the island’s agro-parks over the next 12 months.
These include at: Spring Plain/Ebony Park, Clarendon; New Forest/Duff House, Manchester; and Yallahs, St. Thomas where construction of storm water channels and access roads will be undertaken.
Additionally, a packaging facility is to be constructed at New Forrest/Duff House; while irrigation pipes and fittings are to be installed at Spring Plain/Ebony Park.
The projects are being carried out under the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries’ Agricultural Competitiveness Programme (ACP), which is funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
Four of the five contracts to execute the projects were signed during a brief ceremony at the Ministry’s offices, at Hope Gardens, St. Andrew, on Tuesday, June 17.
Speaking at the ceremony, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Roger Clarke, advised that the Ministry has committed $133 million, for infrastructure works to also be carried out at the Hill Run agro-park in St. Catherine. Cabinet has also approved $72 million. The project has already been designed and discussed for IDB support.
Mr. Clarke said as part of its responsibility, and consistent with the agro-parks concept, the Government is providing infrastructure, inclusive of irrigation drains, roadways, and packing houses for the facilities.
He pointed out that to date $287 million has been spent on these inputs in the existing parks.
The government is spending over $1 billion to develop the agro-parks, with $620 million being provided by the IDB, and approximately $427 million from the European Union (EU).
Under the three year agro-parks initiative, which started in 2012, over 8,000 acres of prime agricultural lands are being targeted for cultivation at nine such facilities island wide, through a partnership involving the government, private sector interests, and farmers.
By Douglas McIntosh