JP providing Richmond Farm with organic pig feed
WHEN OFFICERS at the Richmond Farm Adult Correctional Centre in St Mary reached out to JP Farms in the parish, requesting that they provide any kind of organic products left over from their fresh fruit and chip-making operations, a management team, led by General Manager Mario Figueroa, opted for a tour of the piggery operations, to inform its response.
During a tour of the facility that has more than 100 pigs, Farm Manager Demain Edwards explained that the combined impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which had disrupted global supply chains, and the Ukraine/Russia war had sent grain feed prices skyrocketing and it was hard-pressed to meet demand for feed.
“We typically feed pigs on concentrated feed that consists of specific proportions of protein, carbohydrates and other nutrients needed by the animals. Since the pandemic, the price of feed has consistently gone up, and as you can imagine, this has posed many challenges for us,” he told Figueroa.
In response, the JP general manager pointed out that in light of its quality selection process, bananas that are scarred, crushed or bitten by insects would usually end up back on the farm as fertiliser.
IMPRESSIVE WORK DONE
“We typically mince and repurpose these fruits and by-products as organic fertiliser in the banana fields, but we are happy to allocate a portion to assist with the good work that is happening at the Richmond Farm. And so we support the centre’s push to educate and encourage a mindset of rehabilitation and self-sufficiency as it will ultimately have an impact on all of us as a society. The scope of the agricultural programme is significant and the work already done is impressive,” he disclosed.
This partnership will see JP Farms supporting the adult correctional centre’s piggery unit with a weekly donation of 1,400 pounds of its banana farm by-products which is projected to cut the unit’s cost of feeding over 100 pigs by at least 30 per cent. The company has committed to provide the assistance for the rest of the year, but given the volume of organic waste generated, Brand Manager Gayon Douglas said JP would be quite amenable to consider extending the assistance.
The Richmond Farm Adult Correctional Centre’s agriculture programme forms a major part of its vocational and life-skills training activities – in line with the national rehabilitation strategy, which mandates vocational teaching and training, literacy and other necessary skills training to adequately prepare inmates for successful reintegration into society. The centre encourages self-sufficiency by having inmates participate in programmes to produce and consume their own food. This includes chicken layers and broilers, goats, rabbits and crops.
JP Farms is a subsidiary of the Pan Jamaica Group and is a leading producer of high-quality tropical foods in the Caribbean. JP bananas, pineapples, plantains and coconuts are grown and harvested on the 500+ acre farmland in St Mary, Jamaica, and sold locally and internationally under the JP and St Mary’s brands.