The Jamaican government says it is in discussions with two major investors for the planting of over 2,000 acres of onions as part of a project to boost supplies for the domestic and export markets.
Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Karl Samuda, said one investor has “almost committed” to financing between 400 and 500 acres of land in the parish of St. Catherine, adding that the other is being “encouraged” to take up an additional 1,000 to 2,000 acres.
Samuda noted that with less than 15 per cent of the domestic demand for onion currently being filled by local farmers, the government is encouraging major investors to “look at the big acreages that we have to offer” for cultivation in order to “help us to get away from the dependency on imported onions.”
Major production effort projected
While acknowledging various ongoing onion production initiatives island wide, he said the Ministry is looking at embarking on a major project “to get over this dependency on imports. “We want to produce at a scale… in excess of (domestic) demand and export the balance. That forms part of our objective, which is to make agriculture a net foreign exchange earner,” he added.
Samuda said that Jamaica has a “long way to go” in terms of achieving this goal, but said he is particularly encouraged by the level of heightened interest in cultivating onions, and how this will help.
“Land is available… and I am encouraging everybody to do onions,” he added.