Efforts Must Be Made To Reduce The Percentage Of Onions Being Imported into Jamaica For Domestic Consumption.
Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Audley Shaw, says efforts must be made to reduce the percentage of onions being imported for domestic consumption.
It is a call to which the Caribbean Broilers Group is responding through its Crop Division subsidiary, Imagination Farms, situated at Hill Run, St. Catherine, where it has 12 of over 400 acres of land under onion cultivation.
Data provided by the Caribbean Broilers, more popularly known for meat production, indicate that over the past five years, domestic onion consumption soared to 10 million kilogrammes per annum, of which imports accounted for approximately 85 per cent.
Against this background, Mr. Shaw emphasized that we have to begin to chip away at that 85 percent, through increased domestic cultivation.
Caribbean Broilers Group Operations Manager, Don McGlashan, indicated that the entity is seeking to produce enough onions from the 12 acres under cultivation to contribute to reducing imports by an initial 10 per cent, with a view to increasing this to 50 per cent over the next five years.
Noting that the Mercedes and Polaris varieties of onions are currently grown at the farms, Mr. McGlashan said the entity wants to contribute to reducing the ratio of imports.
Mr. McGlashan indicated that Jamaica is importing about nine million kilogrammes and he wants to be a part of the process to arrest this situation.
Yields have been good and at the end of the harvest in another 10 days, he added, they should be doing as well as anybody in first world countries.