KINGSTON, Feb. 16 (JIS): Farmers in St. James, Westmoreland, Hanover and St. Elizabeth are being urged to increase their cultivation of sorrel to supply the Bethel Town Sorrel Factory in Westmoreland.
In an interview with JIS News, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Lenworth Fulton, said the plant, which was opened in 2014, has not been producing at its optimum of 1,000 kilogrammes of sorrel pulp per week, because of an under supply of the commodity.
“The farmers did not produce enough sorrel to make the factory fully viable. We are now working with them to produce enough sorrel and to put the correct management at that factory,” Mr. Fulton said.
He also attributed the low sorrel production to the prolonged drought, which affected sections of the country in 2015.
Mr. Fulton said RADA will be assisting farmers across the island to boost sorrel production to supply the Bethel Town processing plant, through a major sorrel-planting programme.
He informed that RADA extension officers will also be undertaking a public education and training programme on best practices in sorrel cultivation.
The Bethel Town Sorrel Factory was constructed at a cost of $27.8 million with funding from the Jamaica Social Investment Fund’s (JSIF) Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI), in partnership with the Bethel Town Sorrel Value Chain Improvement Project.
The JSIF provided $23.2 million of the project cost, with the community contributing $4.6 million through its agricultural cooperative society.