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JAM | Jun 1, 2023

Green urges youths to consider spice cultivation as a viable option for wealth generation

Vanassa McKenzie

Vanassa McKenzie / Our Today

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Minister of Agriculture Floyd Green (Photo: JIS)

Agriculture Minister Floyd Green says his ministry is seeking to engage more youths in the agricultural sector to create a new generation of farmers and expand the local spice industry.

Green who was speaking at the launch of the U.S Department of Agriculture Food for Progress Jamaica Spices on Thursday (June 1) held at the AC Hotel in Kingston, said that youths should view the local spice industry as a viable option for wealth generation, especially on the global market.

“We need a new generation of farmers and what we have to show them is that wealth can be derived from agriculture. That there is a billion-dollar U.S. market waiting on them if they farm ginger and make it well. That there is a $100 million market waiting on them for turmeric and things that people use to reap in the wild, that we can now put in systems to ensure that not only can they feed their families but live well.”

The Minister outlined that the demand for spices has increased exponentially on the global market with ginger and turmeric both generating a demand valued at USD $1.8 billion and 1.24 million respectively.

Green noted that while there is a global market for pimento, Jamaica has seen a slight reduction in its pimento exports.

“For pimento, in the 1990s Jamaica was the third highest exporter to the United States accounting for 15 per cent of the U.S imports for pimento. Unfortunately when I last checked we had gone down to 9 per cent having been passed by Honduras, Guatamala and Mexico,” the Minister said.

“We have to accelerate the pace of expansion. We have to intensify our production with our farmers and our region and we have to take back or find our place with our major export market, which is the United States and in order to do that and in the shortest possible time we need partners and we need investment. It’s against that background, I am very happy that we are here launching this project because this project signals partnership, it signals working with the expertise through ACDI program to ensure that we will grow this sector in a timely and strageic way,”

Floyd Green

The Minister further noted Jamaica is popularly known for its distinctive spices and the aim of the project is to provide the world the best spice in the world.

The ACDI/VOCA was awarded the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food for Progress Jamaica Spices, a five-year award valued at Usd $22.6 million to support 7,500 individuals involved in agriculture including women and youth to increase Jamaica’s yield of turmeric, ginger and pimento to meet global standards.

The ACDI/VOCA is an international development nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., United States that fosters broad-based economic growth, increased living standards, and community development.

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