Business

Shaw laments not enough farmers embracing technology

BY HORACE HINES
Observer staff reporter

Friday, October 12, 2018

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Audley Shaw is lamenting that not enough local farmers are capitalising on the drip irrigation and other technologies now available to them.

Speaking at the official opening of Isratech Jamaica Ltd's multimillion-dollar Cornwall headquarters, it's first retail outlet at Reading in Montego Bay, St James, Shaw noted that only a handful of the 200,000 registered farmers are utilising the available technologies on offer.

“We are not taking adequate advantage of the technology and the technologies that they (Isratech Jamaica) have brought to agriculture in Jamaica. The drip irrigation system that they are producing... all these drip irrigation pipes and the whole technology of it... I wish I was able to tell you that the number one market for it in the Caribbean is Jamaica,” the agriculture minister bemoaned.

“Unfortunately, I have to report to you they export more of what they produce into the Caribbean rather than it being used in Jamaica. So we have a lot of work to do.”

The minister pointed out that Jamaican farmers need to catch up with their counterparts in other regional territories who are capitalising on the irrigation equipment offered by Isratech.

“We have a lot of work to do, because the irrigable land we have in Jamaica – of close to 200,000 acres of irrigable lands, right now we are only formally irrigating about 12 or 13 per cent of that figure,” Shaw argued.

Isratech, has been operating in Jamaica since 1985, steadily building an impressive platform of products and services for applications in the agricultural, water and energy sectors through its three divisions, the Jamaica Drip Irrigation, Isratech Waterworks and Isratech Energy Solutions.

Shaw hailed operators of Isratech for their commitment to Jamaica.

“What is fantastic about them is the technology that they have brought to Jamaica, [but] we are not taking advantage of the technologies that they have brought to agriculture in Jamaica,” Shaw said.

Mayor of Montego Bay Councillor Homer Davis welcomed the irrigation manufacturers into the parish.

“Montego Bay is pleased to welcome another major investment to its already impressive collection of world-rated and serious investors,” the Montego Bay mayor said.

“I was very pleased to know that we are welcoming a company that prides itself in being pioneers in the expansion of the latest technology in providing solutions to the environment, water, agriculture, and alternative energy.”

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