Wed | Dec 8, 2021

Grow strong: Hi-Pro comes up big for small farmers

Published:Tuesday | June 23, 2020 | 12:15 AMChristopher Serju/Senior Gleaner Writer
Colonel Jaimie Ogilvie (right), assistant vice-president, Hi-Pro, explains the content of the Grow Strong bag to Lenworth Fulton (left), president of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), and Floyd Green, state minister, Ministry of Industry, Commerce, A
Colonel Jaimie Ogilvie (right), assistant vice-president, Hi-Pro, explains the content of the Grow Strong bag to Lenworth Fulton (left), president of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), and Floyd Green, state minister, Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries.

As the Jamaican economy slowly gets back on track in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hi-Pro, a division of the Jamaica Broilers Group, is investing over $23 million to provide assistance to small farmers.

This will ensure the continuity of the local food-supply chain, a continuous flow of fresh produce, and providing some measure of food security.

Assistant Vice-President of Hi-Pro Colonel Jaimie Ogilvie on Friday outlined different aspects of the assistance to be provided to small farmers across the island under its Grow Strong initiative, which will be rolled out in two phases between June and October.

“We are committed to growing strong together, so Hi-Pro has decided to lead this process by donating agricultural supplies to farmers affected by COVID-19,” he told the launch ceremony at the Hi-Pro Supercentre, at White Marl, St Catherine.

CONTRIBUTIONS

Over the next five months, Hi-Pro will contribute 78 tonnes of animal feeds and more than 900 Grow Strong kits. These will be given to the Jamaica Agricultural Society, the Rural Agricultural Development Authority, the Jamaica Egg Farmers Association, Jamaica Pig Farmers Association, the Small Ruminants Association of Jamaica, the Jamaica Dairy Development Board, and the Jamaica 4-H Clubs for distribution to their members who are facing challenges.

This, according to Colonel Ogilvie, is to ensure that the support will be delivered in a structured and transparent manner since the agencies would be well aware of their members who are most in need.

The Grow Strong kits contain seed packets – cabbage, okra, cucumber, sweet pepper, and watermelon – along with fungicide, herbicide, and pesticide, enough to support a quarter-acre plot, and this is by design, according to the Hi-Pro vice-president, since the target is small farmers.

Meanwhile, State Minister for Agriculture Floyd Green admitted that in relation to livestock, the ministry had observed a 60 per cent downturn in demand of most products during the COVID-19 lockdown.

christopher.serju@gleanerjm.com