GraceKennedy Limited, a large buyer of agricultural crops as inputs for its food manufacturing operations, is taking a more direct interest in farming under a new partnership with the Jamaican Government to supply its St Elizabeth factory.
Previously, the conglomerate provided technical support to farmers in its supply chain. Now, it will be more involved as an agro park investor, utilising lands leased in the parish.
On Tuesday, Group CEO Don Wehby told the Financial Gleaner that Grace Agro-Processors, a division of GK Foods & Services Limited, is partnering with the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, MICAF, to establish the agro park on 110 acres at Ridge Pen in proximity to its processing plant in the neighbouring district of Hounslow.
GraceKennedy is not expected to till the soil itself. Instead, it will sublease plots on the property to different farmers, who will have GK as a guaranteed buyer for their output.
The company expects planting of crops to begin in November of this year and for reaping to begin in May 2019.
“GK has entered into a lease with private owners to secure the land, which it will sublease to members of its supply chain to facilitate an expansion of their crop production. In addition to land, GK will facilitate access to specialised equipment to mechanise the land preparation and planting processes, making the participating farmers’ operation substantially more efficient,” Wehby explained.
Published in the Jamaica Gleaner
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