Accompong targeted for hemp pilot

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MINISTER without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries J C Hutchinson says there are plans for a hemp cultivation pilot project in the Maroon community of Accompong, St Elizabeth.

Hutchinson indicated that the ministry is looking to cultivate 50 acres of the plant for use as raw material in a variety of commercial products, including oils and animal feed.

The proposed venture will complement the Alternative Development Programme (ADP) that was implemented in Accompong and other communities earlier this month, to provide small-scale farmers with a channel through which to benefit from the cannabis (ganja) industry.

“We are going to start in the Big Ground area of Accompong, and once we get that going, we are going to [cultivate all] of it with hemp. Accompong has a lot of land and we want to put everybody to work,” he said.

Hutchinson was speaking at the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport economic Opportunities Workshop’ grant handover ceremony, which was held in the community last Friday.

Meanwhile, the minister said the Accompong ADP cannabis pilot programme is advancing at a “steady pace”, noting that 10 acres of land have already been prepared for the farming initiative.

“We are going to see faster movements with the project, whereby we will have seedlings that we can get those who have prepared the lands,” Hutchinson indicated.

The Alternative Development Programme aims to prevent and eliminate illicit ganja cultivation and channel the process through legal streams.

The pilot has been initiated in Accompong, St Elizabeth, and Orange Hill, Westmoreland.

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