Growth & Jobs | Cross Keys agro-processing facility to boost chips production, employment

The JN Foundation presented the Cross Keys Development Area Committee (DAC) with a deep fryer and commercial slicer for its agro-processing facility and a pavilion stand in Cross Keys, Manchester. On hand to make the presentation to members of the Cross Keys DAC are Alethia Peart (second left), business relationship and sales manager at JN Bank; and Dawnette Pryce-Thompson (fifth right), project coordinator, JN Foundation.

THE COMMUNITY of Cross Keys in southern Manchester is poised to boost production of plantain chips at its agro-processing facility following the donation of new equipment.

Two pieces of equipment, a deep fryer and commercial slicer, were donated by the JN Foundation, through the JN Circle, and presented to the community recently.

Smeadly Reid, chairman of the Cross Keys Development Area Committee, said that the agro-processing facility has been producing plantain chips since 2016, but production had fallen due to challenges with the equipment.

He said the new equipment will bring about a 60 per cent improvement in production. “Surely, we will be able to improve our production, and many more farmers will benefit as we will need more produce,” he said.

“We were only able to produce twice for the month, but with the new equipment we will be able to produce more often,” he said.

Importantly, Reid disclosed that the facility will be able to diversify production to include cassava and sweet potato chips. He said that farmers in neighbouring communities such as Woodland, Resort, Cocoa Walk and Porus, will also benefit.

The JN Foundation also presented a pavilion stand, where members of the community can be comfortably seated when watching sport and other community activities. The facility is utilised by residents from four communities, comprising 25 districts, to host sporting leagues.

“The pavilion stand has begun to be impactful, as it is now being used by community members who comfortably watch sporting events,” he said. “In that regard, the potential is great. We know that many persons will find it more comfortable to be spectators for the sporting activities.”

Alethia Peart, business relationship and sales manager at JN Bank Mandeville, who handed over the equipment, said: “We are very happy to be involved in presenting the equipment and erecting the grandstand. At the JN Group, we pride ourselves in saying that ‘we put people first’.”

“It is not just about today. This is a sustainable project. We are very happy to see community members enjoying the use of the grandstand, and they are able to sit and enjoy the football game,” she added.

The facility was recommended for funding by the JN Circle Mandeville chapter. The JN Circle comprises a network of JN members and customers of member companies within the JN Group, who bond together through community building, advocacy and networking.

This followed a call by the JN Foundation last year to JN Circle chapters to submit proposals for community-building projects, which would be eligible for grant funding of up to $1.5 million. Dawnette Pryce-Thompson, project coordinator at the JN Foundation, said the initiative is one way in which the organisation invests sustainably in the community.

“The impact of this project will be seen in the very near future, as it will provide employment within the community and build comradery among community members. The JN Foundation is happy to be impacting lives in this way,” she said