The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries is looking to identify more arable lands on which to cultivate sorghum, a crop currently being tested as a substitute grain for animal feed. This was disclosed by portfolio Minister, Hon. Roger Clarke, while speaking to journalists today (April 19), following the harvesting of a pilot sorghum crop in Hill Run, St. Catherine. The Caribbean Broilers (CB) Group undertook the test project at its facility, to grow sorghum locally for feedstock as a replacement for imported corn. The Minister noted that lands have already been identified at Amity Hall in St. Thomas at one of the nine agro parks being developed across the island, aimed at enhancing food security and cutting the country’s food import bill. He informed that the CB Group will be undertaking this planting exercise and that the land is currently being prepared. “We’re targeting in that agro park, some 1,700 acres. They (CB Group) are moving now to put in 800 (acres)…and we’re trying to identify more lands. They have asked for some 6,000 acres…so the sustainability is there and we are determined to put whatever idle lands we have into production,” the Minister said. Sorghum is a genus of numerous grass species, some of which are raised for grain and many of which are used as fodder plants. The plants take three to four months to reach maturity and are cultivated in warm climates around the world. “We are not only dealing with sorghum. We are dealing with other crops. We are going to be doing probably over 600 acres of onions. We are already moving with Irish potatoes – a whole slew of things that we’re doing (to utilize arable lands),” Mr. Clarke said. The Minister said he is pleased with the impact that growing the sorghum locally “will have on our importing grains for our animal feed”. “This was just an experimental plot, but the yield has been significant in terms of international standards and it’s just the beginning. This is just a start. What (CB Group) has learnt here is what will help them to improve in production and productivity as we go along,” he stated. Manager, Corporate Affairs, CB Group, Dr. Keith Amiel, informed that 60 per cent of the corn that goes in feedstock is imported, hence the need to create a local substitute. “The idea is to try to see how much of what we’ve been importing we can produce locally….We are going to try to make use of the unused land…it would take us about 6,000 acres to produce 10 per cent of the (crop) locally and of course, we can go up to any amount using the land that’s available,” he said. Agriculture Consultant, Johnny Haer, noted that sorghum is a dry land crop that is grown all over the world, because of its hardiness in drought and dry weather. He pointed out that this “is one of the reasons why we felt like it would do so good here in Jamaica…I don’t see why sorghum is not going to adapt very well to the Jamaican climate.” He noted that the crop harvested from the 300-acre plot, is estimated to “probably end up yielding…roughly 3,000 pounds per acre or 1.5 tonnes per acre.” CONTACT: ALECIA SMITH-EDWARDS
A seat on the Committee decides whether a property is inscribed on the World Heritage List. Story Highlights Jamaica’s membership to the Committee will run until 2017. At the elections in Paris today (Tuesday), Jamaica received more votes than Angola for a seat. Jamaica has been elected to the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO, for the first time.At the elections in Paris today (Tuesday), Jamaica received more votes than Angola for a seat on the important Committee which decides whether a property is inscribed on the World Heritage List.The Minister of Youth and Culture the Honourable Lisa Lisa Hanna, MP – who led the lobby for support of Jamaica’s candidacy for membership of the Committee – described today’s vote as historic, important and well deserved.Minister Hanna said:“I am elated that we won our bid for membership of the World Heritage Committee. It was a difficult lobby, but we never relented as a seat at this table has exponential benefits to our country for the future as we are positioning culture as a pillar for growth. So in that respect, we can say mission accomplished.“But the work to promote and protect our heritage continues. As a member of the World Heritage Committee, Jamaica will represent the interests of Small Island Developing States that are not very well represented – or in our case, not represented at all – on the list of World Heritage Sites.”The election to the Committee for the first time was due to the consistent lobbying efforts of the Jamaican Embassy in Brussels, the Jamaica National Commission for UNESCO, the Ministry of Youth and Culture and Minister Hanna’s overtures at the recent UNESCO General Conference.Jamaica’s membership to the Committee will run until 2017. The country will be represented by Mr Vivian Crawford and Dr Janice Lindsay. Other countries represented on the Committee are: Croatia, Finland, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Lebanon, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Vietnam and Turkey.Minister Hanna said “this is a historic day for our country as Jamaica has never had a property inscribed as a world heritage site despite our culture and heritage being revered by the globe.”She asked all Jamaicans to keep interested as the progress continues.Jamaica has applied for the Blue and John Crow Mountains to be inscribed on the World Heritage List and will begin preparing a dossier for Port Royal’s nomination to the List. Jamaica will also be putting a case for Reggae music to be inscribed on the Intangible Heritage List.
On Sunday, a host of celebrities including Kimberley Walsh and Alex Jones danced the day away with hundreds of hot footed fundraisers.Claudia Winkleman hosted the star studded event at The SSE Arena, Wembley, as celebrities kept fundraisers in high spirits by taking to the stage to shimmy, shake and throw some shapes, all to raise money for Comic Relief.The sprightly celebrities entertained the crowd with their fancy footwork including tap dancing Hollywood star Adam Garcia and ex Pussycat Doll Kimberly Wyatt. Also stepping into the limelight were Countdown’s Rachel Riley, singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor and telly favourite Kirstie Allsopp. Radio DJs Gemma Cairney, Edith Bowman, Jo Whiley, Sara Cox and Vanessa Feltz also faced the music and danced.Dancing legend Arlene Phillips had the crowd in a spin with her famous moves, while comedian Rufus Hound got them giggling by getting his groove on. Other celebs on hand to give fundraisers a much needed boost included Broadchurch heart throb Jonathan Bailey, actress Chelsee Healey and tennis coach and Strictly star Judy Murray.Also quick-stepping it to the stage were Strictly Come Dancing professionals Aljaz Skorjanec, Ian Waite, Janette Manrara, Kristina Rihanoff, Natalie Lowe and Robin Windsor whose expertly timed twirls helped keep fundraisers in step throughout their six hour challenge.Fundraisers were motivated to keep moving to a whole host of toe tapping tunes with the dance style changing every 30 minutes. Those taking part were able to sample a range of dance genres from street dance, latin, hip hop, Bollywood, jive and disco to 80s anthems, 90s rave, pop, soul, ballroom and musical theatre.Host Claudia Winkleman kept the dancers on their toes throughout the challenge, and said: “This has been an absolutely epic day, the crowd put in a tremendous effort and I even busted out a few of my signature moves myself. I loved it and I hope we raised lots of cash for Comic Relief.”Those who couldn’t make it to Wembley were able to throw their own dance parties at home by following along with the live action on the BBC Red Button.The money raised by the Comic Relief Danceathon will be spent in the UK and across Africa, helping vulnerable and disadvantaged people to turn their lives around.