#Jamaica, May 07, 2018 – Kingston – Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw, says Cabinet approval is being sought for the Coconut Industry Board’s (CIB) acquisition of two properties and one facility in St. Mary, to enable further expansion of the entity’s commercial activities. These, he says, are: the 1,028-acre Water Valley Farm; the 700-acre Unity Valley Farm; and the Richmond cocoa fermentery.
It is expected, among other things, that a nursery and factory will be established at Water Valley to facilitate value added coconut processing, while trees will also be planted on the property.
“The Board, through these acquisitions and along with their existing properties, will be demonstrating on a mother/satellite farm basis, best practices in the growing of coconuts, intercropped with cocoa and banana, along with the processing of coconut water and other coconut products,” Mr. Shaw explained.
He was speaking at the Coconut Growers Association’s Annual General Meeting at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston on Saturday (May 5).
Meanwhile, Mr. Shaw said Cabinet approval is also being sought for the CIB to establish a subsidiary to spearhead the properties’ commercial development. This is part of measures to be jointly implemented by the Ministry and CIB to position Jamaica to tap into the US$2 billion global coconut industry.
Mr. Shaw said that as part of the industry’s capacity building and expansion, greater emphasis will be placed on increased production of seedlings, developing a strong research programme and extension activities. These inputs, he argued, are vital, particularly for smaller growers.
Meanwhile, the Minister said the Government welcomes and continues to court significant local and overseas stakeholder investments in the cultivation and value added aspects of the coconut industry.
“Already we are engaging a large investor who has acquired some 2,000 acres of land to grow coconuts in Jamaica to support a major processing facility here, which will also receive raw material from the Caribbean to support it. This is a game changer,” he stated.
Mr. Shaw also advised that he will be seeking Cabinet approval to have the CIB remain a statutory body of the Ministry, with its primary and immediate mandate being the development of nurseries, expansion of research and development activities and extension services to drive the industry’s expansion.
Cabinet approval is also being sought for the Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Regulatory Authority (JACRA) to retain responsibility for the industry’s regulation.
JACRA provides oversight for the development, regulation, and standardization of the agricultural commodities industry primarily incorporating coffee, cocoa, coconut and spices.