Two hectares (five acres) of land at King’s House are to be re-planted with citrus trees resistant to the Tristeza Virus.
Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Professor Kenneth Hall has agreed to have the new trees planted, on the suggestion of Chief Executive Officer of the Citrus Growers Association (CGA), Paul Miller.
The offer was made to the Governor-General during his recent tour of the CGA’s production facilities and farm in Bog Walk, St. Catherine.
Professor Hall said he was pleased to accept the proposal, noting that the current crop at King’s House was in need of “refreshing” and new varieties of crops planted.
“We’d be delighted to have an experimental farm in all its stages on the grounds of King’s House,” he said.
Turning to the new thrust by the Association to increase citrus production, Professor Hall said he was pleased to see that the producton stages, from planting to the final product, were heavily influenced by science and technology.
The CGA has undertaken a massive re-planting programme as a result of an attack from the Tristeza Virus, which had affected citrus orchards islandwide.
The programme, funded jointly by the Government and the Caribbean Development Bank, began in 2000. The main objective of the project is the re-planting of 2,833 hectares of citrus in order to mitigate the serious threat posed by the Citrus Tristeza Virus.
“Citrus farmers are now seeing the bearing from those trees. What’s interesting is that we have a far better rootstock. What we now have is about five approved root stock varieties, which can match all soil types,” Mr. Miller told JIS news.
He said that certified nurseries are now producing higher yielding plants as a result of careful scientific research.
The CGA currently produces several varieties of citrus for export and local consumption, including Rough Lemon, Giant Lemon, Grapefruit, Ortanique and Valencia oranges.