Five Agro-Economic Zones to be Established

Photo: Rudranath Fraser Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson, making his contribution to the 2016/2017 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on July 5.

Story Highlights

  • The Government is looking to establish up to five agro-economic zones, which will provide farmers with a reliable market for their produce, and contribute to the reduction of praedial larceny.
  • Work is under way in Spring Plain, Clarendon, for the renovation of a warehouse to house the first zone, through a public-private partnership.
  • Mr. Hutchinson said the structure operates in the United States, and is being established in some developing countries.

The Government is looking to establish up to five agro-economic zones, which will provide farmers with a reliable market for their produce, and contribute to the reduction of praedial larceny.

Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson, said the zones will be equipped with cold storage facilities, abattoirs, and wholesale outlets. They will also offer grading, packaging, processing, and drying services.

He said that the facilities would be publicly or privately owned and operated.

Work is under way in Spring Plain, Clarendon, for the renovation of a warehouse to house the first zone, through a public-private partnership.

Mr. Hutchinson, who was making his contribution to the 2016/2017 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on July 5, explained that all the produce from farmers will be taken to the zones by refrigerated trucks, registered for the purpose.

“With this structure the farmers will have a steady market for their produce, which would encourage (them) to expand their production, and entice new entrants to the agricultural sector,” he said.

He said it is felt that under this system, praedial larceny could be curtailed by as much as 70 per cent,  as all end-users will purchase their produce from the zones and be given an invoice, or cash and charge receipt.

Inspectors will be deployed to monitor transactions and buyers must provide proof of purchase from the complex or be fined up to $3 million.

To participate in the zones, farmers have to be in organisations, and these bodies will assist in marketing the produce and also provide an avenue for seeking funds from international agencies for the development of their communities.

Mr. Hutchinson said the structure operates in the United States, and is being established in some developing countries.

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