Efforts by the Government to enhance Jamaica’s agricultural competitiveness has been significantly boosted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries’ acquisition of motor vehicles and equipment, valued at approximately $20 million.
The items, inclusive of five Volkswagen Amarok pick-up trucks, 15 post harvest kits, and eight computers, were acquired under the US$15 million Agricultural Competitiveness Programme (ACP), funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
Entities to benefit from the acquisition include the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), the Plant Quarantine, and Veterinary Service Divisions.
The vehicles and equipment were formally presented to representatives of the entities, at Tuesday’s (May 28) handing over ceremony at the Ministry’s agency that is implementing the ACP, the Agro-Investment Corporation (AIC), on Spanish Town Road, in Kingston.
Welcoming the items, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Roger Clarke, said they would go a far way in enhancing the sector’s outputs, while highlighting the need for the industry’s competitiveness, if it is to be sustainable, particularly in the global marketplace.
“I want to thank the Inter-American Development Bank for not only these presents, but what they have been doing in terms of the agricultural competitiveness programme…it has been all-encompassing. Whatever we do here, we have to make sure that we make the best of it. We have to target those things in which we know we can be competitive and we have to drive production in those areas,” the Minister emphasised.
Mr. Clarke also underscored the need to ensure that foods being exported as well as those being imported meet the international standard for consumption.
“We are happy to be moving in that direction, to make sure that we produce safe foods for our people. Conversely, we are going to make sure that whatever foods come into Jamaica is also of international standard and quality (for local consumption),” the Minister said.
In his remarks, RADA’s Chief Executive Officer, Lenworth Fulton, noted that the items are consistent with the agency’s objective of continuously endeavouring to improve on the delivery of technical and extension services to farmers islandwide.
“It is (for) this that we are very grateful. The vehicles and equipment will redound to more productivity from our farmers and our stakeholders in agriculture,” Mr. Fulton said.
A five-year programme which commenced in 2010, the ACP aims to support the development of a modern, efficient, internationally competitive and sustainable agricultural sector, which will open and expand domestic and market access and opportunities for Jamaica products.
The programme focuses on facilitating the linkage of the primary productive sector with the marketing chain, with a view to generating value-added through market access and export promotion.
Contact: Douglas McIntosh