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New organic fertilisers boost agriculture sector

BY JAVENE SKYERS
Staff reporter
skyersj@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, July 17, 2017

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Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, JC Hutchinson has welcomed the move made by local organic fertiliser company, Avery's Organic Fertilizer, which has partnered with Spanish manufacturers Kimitec Group to provide two new organic liquid-based fertilisers to local farmers.

Representatives of Kimitec Group, which manufacturers conventional-based nutrients and fertilisers in Almeria, Spain, were in the island recently to promote the Bombardier and Battalion liquid fertilisers which will be distributed exclusively by Avery's Organic Fertiliser starting next month.

A presentation was made on Thursday by the Kimitec Group at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston, which saw the attendance of Hutchinson as well as various other representatives from the agriculture sector.

According to General Manager of Avery's Organic Fertiliser, Prince Avery, the two products, which are now undergoing trials in the island, will help to stimulate the growth of fruits and vegetables, including coffee, sugar cane and other crops produced locally.

He added that the reason for the partnership with Kimitec is because he believes the company has been tested and proven, and at the time they had met close to two years ago it already had a presence in 62 other countries and has since expanded.

While this will be the first time his company will be selling fertilisers outside their own brand, Avery stated that he believes the feedback will be positive due to the high quality of the products.

Meanwhile, Hutchinson congratulated the two companies and also stated that he welcomed the move as an effort intended to bolster the agricultural value chain through products which provide an improved soil structure, development of the plant's root system and improved fruit quality and quantity.

He noted that he also welcomed any initiative that helps with the Government's goal of attaining five per cent growth in four years, especially as the agriculture sector continues to be one of the main contributors to this effort.

“But while we strive towards using more organic inputs on our farms, it is also imperative that we vigorously pursue the development of our organic agricultural industry. This industry is a growing one with a global estimated value of roughly US$80 billion in 2015,” Hutchinson stated in his address.

He added that there are several proven benefits of organic farming, not in the least is the elimination of the use of synthetic inputs, fertilisers and pesticides.

“With the increasing consumer demand for organic produce, there can be no doubt that this is a pathway to the future and when we are talking about consumer demand we are looking at a niche market. Any produce grown by organic fertiliser, there is a niche market where you get better prices for whatever products are grown,” the minister stated.

He said that last year he was privileged to participate in the launch of the national organic standard, which was developed by the Bureau of Standards Jamaica in collaboration with other stakeholders to guide organic production in the country.

Hutchinson said that the ministry continues to work with these various organsiations and stakeholders so they can have a number of farms certified as organic farms.

He noted that some of these existing farms are growing crops such as onions, peppers, strawberries, turmeric, and coffee, and called for other farmers to emulate the organic techniques, so that more foreign exchange can be earned through the export of organic produce.

The state minister also highlighted that he welcomed the initiative of the College of Agriculture, Science and Education, which has come on-board in support of the expansion of the organic sector, with the establishment of an organic agricultural laboratory that will produce organic ginger and garlic.

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