The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries has collaborated with Trade Winds Limited, which manufactures the Tru-Juice brand of juices, to process excess fruits and vegetables.
The arrangement is aimed at helping farmers with the excess produce they now have as a result of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
The Ministry, through the Rural Agricultural Development Authority, last week put systems in place to support the movement of the produce from farmers in St. Elizabeth to the Tru Juice factory in Bog Walk, St. Catherine.
The factory commenced processing on Monday, April 6, with an initial 5,000 pounds of tomatoes.
On a tour of the factory to observe the process, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry J.C. Hutchinson explained that, in a collaborative effort with the Ministry, Trade Winds has initiated the development and manufacturing of a tomato-pineapple juice, utilising fresh local fruits.
He affirmed that the new juice offering had passed the taste test, adding that the Ministry is exploring the possibility of having it incorporated into the national school-feeding programme.
Meanwhile, the Minster of State in the Ministry, Floyd Green, welcomed the initiative as another opportunity in Jamaica’s plans to expand its agro-industry sector.
He thanked Trade Winds for partnering with the Government in a public-private sector effort to utilise more fresh local produce, while supporting the island’s farmers.
Managing Director of Trade Winds, Peter McConnell, said his company’s main focus at this time is to help bring relief to farmers by processing their excess fruits and vegetables into purees, which are used to make the juices.
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