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1.1 Million Kilograms of Onions to be Reaped

Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Derrick Kellier (left), and St. Thomas farmer, Gary McLean (second left), lift bags of recently harvested onions, during a tour of the Yallahs Agro Park in the parish. Also sharing in the moment are: Advisor to the Minister, Phyllis Mitchell (left, background), Zonal Director, Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Percival Shaw (right), and Chief Technical Director in the Ministry, Don McGlashan. Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Derrick Kellier (left), and St. Thomas farmer, Gary McLean (second left), lift bags of recently harvested onions, during a tour of the Yallahs Agro Park in the parish. Also sharing in the moment are: Advisor to the Minister, Phyllis Mitchell (left, background), Zonal Director, Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Percival Shaw (right), and Chief Technical Director in the Ministry, Don McGlashan.
KINGSTON, March 20, 2015 - At least 1.1 million kilograms of onions are expected to be harvested within the next three weeks, as Government seeks to ramp up production of the crop in order to satisfy local demand.

Making the disclosure, Chief Technical Director in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Don McGlashan, said of the number, 600,000 kilograms will be reaped from farms within the agro parks network.

The remaining 500,000 kilograms, he said, are expected from farms outside of the network.

Mr. McGlashan was addressing a press briefing on March 18 at the Yallahs Water Users Group building in St. Thomas, before embarking on a tour to observe onion production on agro parks in the parish.

Also on the tour were Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Derrick Kellier; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Donovan Stanberry, as well as a number of officials from the Ministry, Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), National Irrigation Commission (NIC), and the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ).

“This means we would have produced 500 tonnes of onions from one season of planting, which is considerable, in light of the fact that in 2013, we only produced 680 tonnes (for the year),” he noted.

The Chief Technical Director also informed that to date, the Ministry has established more than 70 hectares of onions over a course of four months.

He noted that 35 hectares of that amount are being grown in agro parks located in Yallahs and Plantain Garden River in St. Thomas, as well as Ebony Park and Amity Hall in Clarendon.

Mr. McGlashan credited much of the success in onion production to the GOJ/Adaptation Fund Programme, being administered by the PIOJ.

“They came in significantly with the financial resources in the provision of seeds, fertilisers, pesticides and land preparation,” he said.

In the meantime, Minister Kellier said the overall goal of the onion development programme is to achieve self-sufficiency in onion production by 2017.

This, he said, will significantly stem the importation of the crop into Jamaica, thereby saving the country millions in foreign exchange.

The country needs to produce about 1,000 to 1,400 hectares of onion as well as increase current production from about 10 to 12 tonnes per hectare to at least 20 tonnes per hectare in order to become self-sufficient.

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