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Agro-economic zone to be established by private investor in Hanover
July 7, 2017
Hon J.C. Hutchinson (3rd left), Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries; and Omar Sweeney (right), Managing Director of the Jamaica Social Investment Fund, unveil plaqueat the handover of a $30-m honey extraction and bottling facility to the Hanover Bee Farmers Co-operative Society on July 6 in Lucea, Hanover. Others from left are Linval Blagrove, and Lorene Muir, chairman and vice-chairman of the Society, respectively.

Minister without Portfolio in the Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, the Hon. J.C. Hutchinson, says that an agro-economic zone to be operated by a private investor will be coming on stream next year in the parish of Hanover. He was speaking at the handover of a honey extraction and bottling facility constructed by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) in Lucea, Hanover, on July 6. 

He encouraged the farmers to produce not just honey, but also other produce as the agro-economic zone would provide farmers of Hanover, Westmoreland and St. James with a ready market for their produce.

“Everything that the farmer grows will be taken off by the agro-economic zone”, said Minister Hutchinson, where they will be sold or processed into puree and juices. These puree and juices, Minister Hutchinson explained, will go directly into a breakfast programme that will be established in primary and secondary schools.

Noting that in recent weeks similar agro-processing facilities have been handed over by JSIF, Minister Hutchinson emphasised the importance of the facilities as they added value to the lives of farmers, the agricultural sector and the economy of the country.

The $30-m bottling facility is a project of the Hanover Bee Farmers Co-operative Society whose mission is to improve market access and increase earnings from the sale of honey for the over 200 beekeepers of Hanover, St James and Westmoreland.

Managing Director of JSIF Omar Sweeney said the 1,500 sq. ft. facility has been built to receive HACCP certification. He said that the aim of the project is to boost economic growth in Hanover and that in addition to the technical assistance received from the Rural Agricultural Development Authority each participant received training in agro processing.

The beekeeping industry provides direct employment for 3,000 families and has approximately 48,000 registered and managed hives, representing a 300% increase over 2005. There has also been a 200% increase in honey production in 2016, moving from 117,548 gallons in 2005 to an estimated 247,000 gallons.


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