The Forestry Department is constructing three (3) shade houses to increase its seedling production capacity to meet the target under the ‘Three Million Trees in Three Years’ National Tree Planting Initiative.
The shade houses are being constructed in Williamsfield, Manchester; Mount Airy, St. Andrew; and Moneague, St Ann.
Principal Director, Forest Operations, Mr. Jerome Smith, says the Agency is set to double its production with the new facilities.
“The Agency’s seedling production last year was just under 250,000 and we will be poised to double that this year as the figure in the Operational Plan for 2021/2022 FY speaks to production of 500,000 seedlings”, he shared.
Mr. Smith also noted that with the construction of the shade houses, the Agency will be introducing more variety in fruit and ornamental seedlings including palms.
“Over the years, we have had requests for different species and we will be introducing those as time progresses, in fact we already started, and with the shade houses, these seedlings will be readily available at the different nurseries”, Mr. Smith said.
Among the new species are Indian Plum (Ziziphus mauritiana), Red Coat Plum (Spondias purpurea) and Mulberry (Morus ssp.)
Some of the species that will be introduced are dwarf Jew Plum (Spondias dulcis), potted Dracaena marginate, Fiddle-leaf fig (Ficus lyrata), Prayer plant (Maranta leuconeura), Calathea (Calathea lutea), June Rose (Paeonia lactiflora) Caladium, Dragon Blood (Dracaena cinnabari) and Dieffenbachia (Dieffenbachia seguine).
Mr. Smith says the construction of the shade houses which started mid-May is set for completion by the end of the second quarter of the 2021/2022 financial year.
The construction of the shade houses is being carried out by the nursery team with guidance from the Infrastructure, Facilities and Documentation branch using some of the materials recycled from a previous shade house which has since been dismantled.