The St. Ann-based Noranda Jamaica Bauxite Partners is developing an aquaponics project at Shelly Piece near Higgins Land in the parish, which will boost agricultural production and provide employment for residents.
Written by: Nickieta Sterling / Jamaica Information Service
Noranda’s Public and Community Relations Superintendent, Kent Skyers, told JIS News that the aquaponics system, which is the largest in the country, will enable farmers to produce a wide variety of cash crops. He said that the project is at an advanced stage with production expected to start later this month.
“In another couple of months, persons will be able to come to Shelly Piece, where they will see the first set of crops that are grown in this aquaponics environment… We are providing farmers with the latest technology, so that they can actually use that to increase their output, to increase their productivity and to earn more,” he added.
Aquaponics is an innovative farming technique that combines aquaculture (fish farming) with hydroponics (soil-less crop production). The nutrient-rich water from raising fish provides a natural fertilizer for the plants and the plants help to purify the water for the fish.
Mr. Skyers told JIS News that the aquaponics facility will provide jobs for residents. “About 30 ladies have been trained by the HEART Trust/NTA to work on this aquaponics site. So far, they are doing quite well, and as I said this month… we will be starting to produce crops,” he noted.
He said that the project includes a cold storage facility where the farmers will be able to store their produce. Mr. Skyers reiterated the bauxite company’s commitment to continue to partner with the Government to improve agriculture in Jamaica and develop communities that surround its operations.
“Noranda Bauxite is very involved in community development. We have to ensure that the residents in mining communities benefit more and their standard of living improves.
“We have different areas that we pursue to improve the lives of residents in our communities. We have agriculture, we have sports, education and small business development,” he noted.