My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: How RADA's National Fruit-Tree Crop Project benefits Breadfruit Farmers, Red Stripe and GOJ

Monday, January 20, 2014

How RADA's National Fruit-Tree Crop Project benefits Breadfruit Farmers, Red Stripe and GOJ

“I have lots of overseas orders for breadFruit. People want roasted breadFruit by the container load and we can't fill the orders. So we need large acreages (of these Trees)”

Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) Fruit-Tree coordinator Locksley Waites in an interview with the Gleaner

Looks like Jamaica has caught “Buy Jamaica Build Jamaica” fever with an emphasis on Agriculture as predicted in my blog article entitled “Jamaica's Basic Item Food Bill mostly from 1st World Countries - Buy Jamaican Build Jamaica made from Imported Raw Materials in containers that says Made in Jamaica”.

This as there is now interest in making every Agricultural product that we grow in VAS (Value Added Products) for export, including BreadFruit as noted in “BREADFRUIT - Jamaica Fails To Capitalise On High Demand Overseas - Ministry Pushes For Planting Of More Fruit Trees”, Published Monday January 20, 2014, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Yes, you read that right folks. BreadFruit is indeed that versatile enough to warrant the attention of the Ministry of Agriculture or more specifically RADA (Rural Agricultural Development Authority) in a revival of the National Fruit-Tree Crop Project to support this project, given its nutritional content as stated in “BreadFruit - Roast Or Boil?”, Published Wednesday November 27, 2013 By Marsha N. Woolery, The Jamaica Gleaner.

My thinking though, this interest in making Jamaica Agricultural products more export oriented is going to get a big push, similar to an initiative by Trevor Willis, a co-partner in Diamond Ridge Processors who promoted vacuum-packaged BreadFruit at the St Mary BreadFruit Festival in July 2012 as stated in “BreadFruit On The Go”, published Saturday July 21, 2012, by Christopher Serju, Gleaner Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner. .

Very much akin to Red Stripe and Agro-Investment Corporation signing a lease agreement of 36 Acres to test out the best means of growing Cassava to replace Hops and HMCS (High Maltose Corn Syrup) used in making Red Stripe Beer as stated in my blog article entitled “Red Stripe and Agro-Investment Corporation signs lease Agreement on 36 acres of Land - Farmers benefit from Cassava’s Day in the Sun as we catch up with Africa's by September 2014”.

Interestingly too, increased production of Fruit Trees may help the Ministry of Health’s case to eventually Tax Fast Food Establishments having healthier Food options available to Fast Food Restaurants to provide Fruit Servings to make their offerings more healthy as noted in my blog article entitled “Min. of Health, Dr. Fenton Ferguson proposes financing Health Care via a Fast Food and Junk Food Tax - Jamaican High Schoolers Addiction to American style Fast Food”.

BreadFruit not the only Fruit – Land Tenure to reap the benefits of National Fruit-Tree Crop Project

And it’s not just BreadFruit alone. RADA plans to copy the Red Stripe initiative by reviving a National Fruit-Tree Crop Project that the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries started in 2000 and give farmers with large acreages to plant the following crops:

1.      Ackee
2.      Avocado
3.      BreadFruit
4.      Cashew
5.      Custard apple
6.      Guava
7.      Guinep
8.      Jack Fruit
9.      June plum
10.  Lychee
11.  Mango
12.  Naseberry
13.  Nutmeg
14.  Otaheiti apple
15.  Soursop

The Requirements to get the Fruit seedlings are land tenure and the wherewithal to start in what is a fairly simple VC (Venture Capital) push for Agriculture as outlined by RADA Fruit-Tree coordinator Locksley Waites, quote:  “We require that you own the land, or if it is family land, you get a letter from a family elder authorising you to use it. If it is leased land, we say you must have at least a 29-year lease, the reason being that most Fruit Trees mature at about year 10, so you don't want to lease it for 12 years and, by the time you start making money, the man run you. So for you to get the plant (from RADA), we'll have to select you and then, once we authorise you to prepare the place, we assist you to line out the place, offer guidance in terms of proper spacing, and we even show you how to dig the holes.”.

National Fruit-Tree Crop Project – Sustainable Production of Fruits for Local usage and Export

Started some 14 years ago, the National Fruit-Tree Crop Project aim was to produce these Fruits to satisfy local demand, with the excess being channeled to make juices, jams and jellies. It would also help with issues relating to deforestation, preservation and enrichment of the topsoil of farmed-out Sugar Cane lands and Bauxite lands, similar to the Trees That Feed Foundation’s plan to use BreadFruit to both provide sustenance as well as preserve the soil as noted in “Saving The World, One BreadFruit At A Time”, Published Wednesday July 4, 2012 by Daviot Kelly, Staff Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Via this process it would also provide employment for out-of-work Jamaicans by mimicking the Spring Plains Program started by Israeli investor Eli Tisona when Edward Seaga was Prime Minister as noted in my blog article entitled “South Coast developement in Clarendon necessary for JLP victory”.

Most likely this was to be the source of excess Fruit to be used in the Ministry of Education's School Feeding Program to displace unhealthy and often imported children's snacks as noted in my blog article entitled “Ministry of Agriculture to approve Fruit and Liquified Eggs for School Feeding Program even as Pork faces Glut - How Solar Farming will make Jamaica's Food Security Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2”.

Although 70 per cent of the estimated 800,000 seedlings distributed was Ackee, the National Fruit-Tree Crop Project has now matured to include the above-mentioned Fruits. Now with the success of the Cassava Project, the potential it holds means that this may mark an expansion and even modernization of Farming as I'd predicted in my Geezam blog article entitled “Solar Powered Organic Farming – Sustainable Agricultural Development and Jamaica’s Food Security”.

Benefits to the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education are just spin-off effects of the resuscitation of this program. It also means that Agriculture will get the attention it needs to become the means by which we can cut of massive Food Importation Bill.

With Red Stripe as an example of how Private Sector Partnerships can boost Agriculture, it’s hoped that similar partnerships with RADA and Agro-Investment Corporation to make Agriculture profitable for both the Farmer and Jamaica in terms of Foreign Exchange Earning potential fulfilling the vision of JLP Senator Christopher Tufton as per my blog article entitled “Agriculture and Technology - Where worlds collide”. 

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