Jamaica: greenhouse project adding value to Manchester community

Farmers are hailing the Content greenhouse project in Williamsfield, Manchester, for enabling them to increase production and earnings while adding economic value to the community.

The project, which got underway in 2017, involves the revitalization of former bauxite lands for agriculture production.

Forty-three farmers are engaged in cultivating crops such as cucumber, sweet potato, cabbage, lettuce, and hot pepper in 20 greenhouses and rearing small ruminants such as goats, supplying hotels, supermarkets, and other markets.

President of the Content greenhouse project, Earl Williams, said that the group of farmers has produced some 100,000 pounds of crops, with earnings of approximately $16 million. He notes that 30 percent of the earnings is “put aside for rainy days” to ensure that the venture is sustained.

Mr. Williams, who was speaking at a recent community meeting, said that the “project has brought back life to Williamsfield,” which has been impacted by the downturn in bauxite production. In turn, he said, the “community has been good to us” by ensuring that the farms are protected.

Mr. Williams said that the economic setback, brought on by the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic, put a damper on production but noted that the project is well placed to take advantage of the opportunities on the horizon.

He said that farmers have benefited from the “best training in farming as a business” through the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), and partnerships have been developed with buyers and value-added producers for the sale of high-quality produce.

Public Relations Officer for the Content Farmers’ Group, Kerise Mighty, who is the youngest member of the group, and one of only three female farmers, said that the initiative “has maximized the earning potential of farmers, which has overflowed into the community.”

Read the complete article at www.jis.gov.jm.

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