The impact of COVID-19 has been large and wide with unprecedented disruptions in global economies, and livelihoods.
On a local level, with the downturn of the tourism and hospitality industries, early close out of the market place and other stringent measures to control this pandemic, the traditional markets for our farmers have been brutality hit. This has led to farmers having excess produce to distribute.
Through these difficulties our nation has been given the opportunity and privilege to improve its efforts to feed ourselves. The Government of Jamaica has stepped up to the task of assisting farmers to market their produce.
The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries has made an immediate injection of $240 million for the purchase of excess produce from farmers.
RADA is now actively in the fields, identifying farmers with excess produce and arranging with purveyors (Glastonbury Purveyors, Market Fresh Ltd., and Ansel Golaub and Sons) for the collection, storage and movement of produce into the marketplace.
Trade Winds Citrus must be acknowledged and highlighted for pioneering the charge as a notable agro-processor to utilize excess produce, tomatoes specifically, to be used in the National School Feeding Programme.
On a tour of the facilities at Bog Walk St, Catherine on April 6, 2020, Ministers J.C. Hutchinson, Floyd Green and a team from MICAF and RADA had a first-hand view of the this intricate process to utilize pureed tomatoes to make refreshing juices.
Farmers with produce for sale, retailers and distributors with the need to purchase produce are urged to contact the Agri-Linkages Exchange at 876-970-0838/ 876-970-1451 or RADA Marketing Unit at 1-888-ASK-RADA.
Let us support our farmers, Say Yes to Fresh, Buy local products.
Photo: On a tour of Trade Winds Citrus, Bog Walk, St. Catherine and witnessing the processing of tomatoes are Hon. J.C. Hutchinson (centre) Minister Without Portfolio, MICAF, Hon. Floyd Green, Minister of State MICAF, Mr. Omer Thomas, Adviser/Consultant, Mr. Peter McConnel, Managing Director Trade Winds Citrus.