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Agriculture Minister Roger Clarke announces plans to put 510 acres of land into turmeric and ginger production
February 08, 2012

Agriculture Minister, Roger Clarke, (centre) inspects ginger accompanied by his junior minister Ian Hayles (left) and Permanent Secretary, Donovan Stanberry at the Export Division following introductory meeting on February 8. Iin the background is Chief Technical Director, Marc Panton.

KINGSTON - The Hon. Roger Clarke, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister has announced plans for the expansion of turmeric and ginger production; markets he believes are not being fully exploited despite our quality advantage in these spices. He says work has begun in land preparation and planting material will be supplied in the next two weeks to plant 350 acres of turmeric, while an additional 150 acres of ginger will be cultivated under conventional systems and 10 acres under protected environment.

He made the disclosure ahead of a multi-agency introductory meeting and tour at the Export Division on Marcus Garvey Drive, Kingston this morning. Minister Clarke was accompanied by State Minister Ian Hayles and senior officials of the Ministry.

“Efficiency and production will be the order of the day. Marketing is an important element in what we do and is the lynchpin in making our farmers better off. We have to follow the market and produce the things the market requires,” he said. “Within another two weeks, we will be engaging in planting a total of 350 acres of turmeric in the parishes of Westmoreland, Hanover, Clarendon, St. Mary, St. Catherine, St.Thomas, Trelawny and St. Elizabeth. Shade-houses will be constructed on 10 acres of government and private lands to produce disease-free planting material from tissue culture plantlets and first generation rhizomes to supply the local ginger industry,” Minister Clarke noted. A cadre of 10 graduates of the College of Agriculture Science and Education (CASE) has been recruited and will be trained and deployed as extension officers exclusively to ginger and turmeric farmers.

Turmeric is a plant which when processed is used mostly as a food seasoning in the form of curry powder, as a food colouring and in pharmaceutical industries. In Jamaica, turmeric grows wild in many parishes, particularly, Hanover, Westmoreland and St. Elizabeth.

Meanwhile, the team from the Ministry also toured the Cocoa Industry Board, Wallenford Coffee Company, Fisheries Division and the Coffee Industry Board. During these tours, Minister Clarke was brought up to speed with the challenges and opportunities of the respective entities.