Farmer among four awarded in St Elizabeth

Farmer among four awarded in St Elizabeth

December 3, 2019 0 By Horace Mills

  • Beryl Rochester

Desmond Whitely, an agriculturalist, has emerged winner of the St. Elizabeth Homecoming Foundation 2019 ‘Best of St Bess’ Golden Award in the category of farming.

He has been farming since he was 12 years old.

Whitely is among the leading suppliers of vegetables – such as cauliflower and broccoli – to buyers across the island.

He was among four people honoured on December 1 at an awards brunch in St. Elizabeth for contribution in the areas of extension services, irrigation services, agro-processing, and innovation in agriculture.

Other awardees were Turner Innovations Limited, the National Irrigation Commission, and the Rural Agricultural Development Authority.

Speaking at the awards brunch, J.C. Hutchinson – Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries – lauded Whitely for his achievement and for showing other small farmers how to maximise their production.

He noted that one of the challenges faced by the farmers is to find markets for their produce.

Hutchinson stated that establishment of the first agro-economic zone at Holland in the parish is far advanced, adding that the facility will provide an outlet for all of the farmers’ produce.

The 26th staging of the homecoming celebrations, in the meantime, highlighted the resilience of the parish’s agricultural sector, which boasts 29,320 registered farmers – the largest number in any single parish locally.

Known as the breadbasket parish, St. Elizabeth produced 100,000 tonnes of domestic food crops to the national domestic output in 2018, earning approximately $10 billion.

The parish continues to be the largest producer of vegetable, condiments, and fruits.

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