JIS News

Story Highlights

  • the Government’s effort at reducing food imports through the agro parks project represents an “exciting prospect” for the agricultural sector.
  • The government is developing, over the next two years, nine agro parks islandwide.
  • Dr. Phillips is encouraging all farmers to take advantage of the opportunity created by the parks’development, and to explore planting new types of crops.

Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, says the Government’s effort at reducing food imports through the agro parks project represents an “exciting prospect” for the agricultural sector.

The Minister, who was speaking yesterday (October 3), while touring the Amity Hall agro park in St. Catherine, lauded the moves there to produce animal feed, and crops such as sorrel and red peas, which have been heavily imported over the years.

“What these Agro Parks show is the future of Jamaican agriculture, and we feel strongly… that a great part of the growth story for the future must come from agriculture, and agri-business,” he stated, noting that the country must now look to increase exports.

Dr. Phillips is encouraging all farmers to take advantage of the opportunity created by the parks’development, and to explore planting new types of crops.

He said discussions are ongoing for the provision of new technologies to modernise reaping agricultural produce, especially at the parks.

The government is developing, over the next two years, nine agro parks islandwide. Three are already in operation – Amity Park; Plantain Garden, St. Thomas; and Ebony Park, Clarendon.

Funding is being provided through the European Union (EU)-financed Sugar Transformation Programme, and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)-funded Agricultural Competitiveness Programme.

Farmers and investors in the project, are required to provide working capital, either from their own resources or through loans provided by the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) through the Peoples’ Co-operative (PC) Bank network, for land preparation, production inputs, on-farm irrigation, and equipment.

The Agro-Investment Corporation (AIC), the agency charged by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries to manage the project, is providing park managers and dedicated extension specialists and coordinating the involvement of other government agencies in the provision of services to the parks.

Technical advisory services are being provided by the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA).

 

CONTACT: GARFIELD L. ANGUS