Agricultural and Productive Sectors Need Jump Start – JAS President


President of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), Senator Norman Grant, has said that the agricultural and productive sectors were in need of a jump-start in order to respond effectively to the increasing pressures of globalisation and the onset of the Free Trade Areas of the Americas (FTAA).
Speaking yesterday (Oct. 30) at the Proclamation Ceremony for National Science and Technology Month at King’s House, Senator Grant said that “while we can hope that talks will be delayed and that the implementation date may be pushed back a year or two, given the rate at which other hemispheres are joining up to form their own agreements, the global outlook remains the same – countries will have to fend for themselves. This brings us back to Jamaica’s agricultural productivity and our ability to earn foreign exchange.”
He warned that traditional exports could no longer be sustained, simply because these products were no longer competitive, and that in some cases, the world no longer relied heavily on some of these products. He said the country had to look to other means of boosting productivity and compete effectively. “We need to identify ways of staking a claim with science and technology services. We need to change our productive base to one that is complementary to the products that will be produced by the larger nations of the FTAA. In short, we need to produce what the world demands and we need to do it efficiently and cheaply,” Senator Grant stated.
The JAS President stressed that Jamaica and other CARICOM member states should insist that disciplines on subsidies be part of the FTAA and insist on certain key issues such as the ‘delinking’ of food aid programmes from the domestic production of the donor country; a limitation on the amounts that could be devoted to export credit programmes and exemption for smaller economies from export tax disciplines.
“Whatever we do, however, we must recognise the fact that we cannot be passively resistant to a change that is inevitable. Now is the time with the assistance of science and technology to aggressively seek export markets and to retake our own,” he pointed out.
The Scientific Research Council (SRC), will be spearheading the celebration for this year’s Science and Technology Month for the sixth consecutive year, under the theme, ‘Science and Technology for Economic Development: Technology Driven Agriculture and Agro-Processing’.
The month of November provides an opportunity for identifying the characteristics of, as well as focussing on, and showcasing what is happening in the local science and technology sector. Linkages with other sectors such as music, sports, environment and culture, will also be highlighted. Activities to be staged island-wide include a proclamation by the Governor-General; a church service; the annual national conference and exposition on science and technology; the inventors/innovators exposition; lectures/public fora; open days; live radio broadcasts and web-cast.

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