News Date: July 20 2016
The Government is seeking to forge a partnership with local entity Caribbean Cable Company (CCC), to source tools and equipment for small farmers.
Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson, says harrows, ploughs and rotavators, which are used to prepare land for cultivation, are among the implements being sought.
Mr. Hutchinson indicated that acquiring these was “critical” to the administration’s undertaking to further advance the agricultural sector.
He made the disclosure while addressing a meeting with CCC representatives at the entity’s offices in Rodon’s Pen, Old Harbour, St. Catherine, on Tuesday, July 19.
The meeting was a follow-up to one he attended earlier this year during which he was shown samples of equipment supplied by CCC.
Mr. Hutchinson also expressed an interest in acquiring machines to process fruits and vegetables for incorporation in the national school-feeding programme, particularly at the early-childhood and primary levels.
Voicing concern about the quantity of these crops which go to waste annually, he indicated that “we want to get all the fruits and vegetables, process them and supply them to the schools, so we can get rid of the bag juice (being served to the children), which is not nutritious”.
Mr. Hutchinson said consideration would also be given to equipping schools with the machines, thereby enabling them to do their own processing.
Pointing out that he was “impressed” with what he saw during both meetings, the Minister expressed hope that an agreement can be reached with CCC to provide the equipment as soon as possible.
Wholesale Manager for CCC, Michael Thomas, told JIS News that while the company’s core business is manufacturing electrical wires and cables, “we are embarking on a new journey where we are getting agricultural implements (for) the market”.
“What we do is contingent on a number of things, including the response from the Jamaican community and, moreso, the Government. I hope that all of our plans will be good and we will achieve all of our goals,” he added.
Caribbean Cable Company, which commenced operations in 1968, was initially involved in supplying products from the United Kingdom, before being acquired by Cuban business interests.