160 Greenhouses Set Up on Reclaimed Bauxite Lands
Some 160 greenhouses have been established on mined-out bauxite lands in St. Ann, Manchester, Clarendon, and St. Elizabeth at a cost of approximately $240 million.
Executive Director of the Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI), Parris Lyew-Ayee, said the greenhouses, which are under vegetable cultivation, are providing earnings of up to $3 million annually for the farmers.
He informed that marketing arrangements are made with hotels, supermarkets and other buyers, who pay market price for the “high-quality produce”.
The greenhouse project is part of the JBI’s Bauxite Community Development Programme (BCDP), aimed at promoting agricultural activity on reclaimed bauxite lands.
Mined-out pits are reconfigured and sealed to become catchment ponds for rainwater, which is transmitted to holding tanks by solar-powered pumps. Clusters of greenhouses are built around the ponds by farmers of prime vegetable crops, which are watered by drip irrigation from the holding tanks.
The initiative is supported by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) and also has input from the bauxite companies.
Mr. Lyew-Ayee said the World Bank supported the project “and is returning to assist again, as it would like to use our project as an example of true sustainable development in a mining environment”.
He was speaking at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the JBI and Timeless Herbal Care for the growing of medicinal plants on mined-out bauxite lands, at the Ministry of Transport and Mining in Kingston on September 6.
Mr. Lyew-Ayee said the JBI is always looking for opportunities to assist the mining communities “to be able to have sustainable economic activities in a life after bauxite”.
He said the JBI, in addition to providing the lands for the project with Timeless, will also be giving all the technical assistance where possible, to “ensure that this venture is a successful one”.