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Call for agro park investors to go out in early 2024

Published:Sunday | December 24, 2023 | 6:15 AM

Two new agro parks will be established under the Southern Plains Agricultural Development Project at Amity Hall/Bridge in St Catherine and Parnassus in Clarendon, in the coming year.

Funding is being provided through the United Kingdom-Caribbean Infrastructure Partnership Fund, or UK-CIF, the Caribbean Development Bank and the Government of Jamaica.

Amity Hall will span 1,149.6 acres, while Parnassus will be 756 acres. The funding will cover development of irrigation system, market infrastructure and reservoir, as well as access road and drainage systems.

The farming lots will come in sizes of five acres, 10 acres, 20 acres, 30 acres, 40 acres and 50 acres, says Agro-Investment Corporation, the state agency with responsibility for agricultural investment and promotion and overseer of the agro park network.

The programme provides leased land and infrastructure to private investors and farmers to grow agricultural produce, and is aimed at enhancing the country’s food security.

Currently, there are nine agro parks in operation, producing crops such as onions, scallion, pepper, fruits and vegetables, ginger, and yams and other tubers.

For the new parks in St Catherine and Clarendon, the call for investors is expected to go out in February 2024. Targeted investors include small, medium and large commercial farmers, according to Agro-Invest. Applicants are expected to have capitals to fund their venture, access to market, and a marketing plan.

“Farmers will be integrated into groups to access market linkages. Crops in demand are hot peppers, sweet potatoes, sweet corn, cassava, mango, avocado, dasheen, onion, ginger,” Agro-Invest said.

In terms of mechanisation, bedding tools, rotavators, tractors and other equipment will be available to the farmers.

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