KINGSTON — Residents of Bethel Town in Westmoreland are optimistic that the construction of a $24 million sorrel factory in the area will help to uplift the community and create employment.
“With this project coming on mainstream now, I feel like it’s gonna be a big benefit for the community and for small farmers in and out the community,” said Robert Grey, a small farmer from Bethel Town .
“It will help to employ some members (of the Bethel Town Agriculture Co-operative Society) and other farmers where they will be able to sell to the factory,” He said.
This sentiment was echoed by the chairman of the Cooperative Society, Ian Hill, who believes the factory will energise a community which is often described as dormant.
The Jamaica Social Investment Fund and the cooperative recently signed an agreement for the construction of the sorrel factory in Bethel Town.
JSIF provided $19,321,040 in World Bank funds while the Co-operative Society contributed $4,310,000.
The project includes the construction and equipping of the factory and also marketing and capacity building through training.
Work on the 204 square-metRE facility which is expected to be completed in three months will consist of a production area, sorting area, dry and cold storage as well as an office and bathroom convenience are
According to Loy Malcolm, General Manager-Project Management, there are a number of value added products that will be made from sorrel such as sorrel drinks, wines and jams. She said other value products will be added in the future.
Minister of Agriculture Roger Clarke, who spoke at the function questioned why sorrel concentrate is being imported when the product can be grown almost anywhere in Jamaica . He said as a means of correcting this, the Government has targeted certain crops which will allow the country to be self-sufficient in short order. (OBSERVER)