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Jamaica lauds new banana varieties

2012-04-14 20:15

Kingston - Jamaica is introducing new varieties of plantain and banana plants that the government says produce more fruit and can cut production costs by up to 30%.

Agriculture Minister Roger Clarke says the new varieties will help boost an industry crippled by hurricanes, diseases and pests.

He said this week that the new plants are more resistant to black sigatoka disease and can produce up to 50% more fruit than other varieties.

Jamaica has about 200 000 farmers who produced nearly 82 000 tons of bananas and plantains in 2010, a nearly 18% increase from the previous year.

Clarke said he expects the new varieties to help boost production levels to 108 800 tons a year by 2020.