Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton and head of the European Union (EU) Delegation in Jamaica, Ambassador Marco Mazzochi Alemani, toured sections of Portland on Wednesday (April 28) to view EU-funded fishing and agro-tourism projects.
Among the projects they viewed were: the new Buff Bay Fishing facility; a number of agro tourism destinations in the Buff Bay Valley area; the Maroon Museum and Safu Yard in Charles Town; and the Tourist Halt and Honey Bar in Rose Hill.
The Maroon Museum is filled with artifacts and interesting pieces from the past, and the Safu Yard is the section of the Maroon compound from where, it is said, Maroon warriors prepared for war. Both the Maroon Museum and Safu Yard are part of the Maroon complex in Charles Town which, like the Tourist Halt and the Honey Bar, have been developed as tourist attractions under the Buff Bay Valley Agro-Tourism Project funded by the EU.
A section of the tourist Halt and Honey Bar in Rose Hill, Buff Bay Valley, Portland visited by Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Christopher Tufton, and Head of Delegation for the European Union (EU) to Jamaica Ambassador Mazzochi Alemani during a tour of EU funded agricultural projects in Portland on Wednesday (April 28).
The construction of the Buff Bay Fishing Beach facility was carried out under a $48 million contract signed under the EU Banana Support Programme, for the construction of six fishing facilities in St. Thomas, St. Mary and Portland. The amenities at these facilities include sanitary conveniences, fish vending, handling and solid waste disposal areas and gear shields.
The projects under the Buff Bay Valley Agro Tourism programme aim to provide new income earning opportunities for residents, through the development of tourist attractions in the valley and establishing marketing linkages with the hotel sector.
Speaking during the tour, Dr. Tufton lauded the importance of the cooperation between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group, of which Jamaica is a part, and asserted that the projects were tangible evidence of the benefits Jamaica has derived as a result of that cooperation.
Noting that the EU has spent a significant amount of money to develop agricultural and non-agricultural projects in Jamaica, to provide income to substitute for the losses occurring from the scaling down of the banana industry, the Agriculture Minister said the fishing industry is being strengthened as a possible means of alternative income for banana farmers.
Declaring that 22 fishing beaches have been rehabilitated since the programme began in May of last year, he urged residents of Buff Bay to take good care of the fishing facility, in order to protect the money spent on its construction, and to ensure that it serves the community for as long as possible.
Ambassador Alemani said that the European Union was pleased to be associated with the projects, and observed that Portland was one of the areas in Jamaica where the EU has centered a lot of its attention.