JIS News

The Ministry of Agriculture has designed an Agricultural Development Strategy, which seeks to place the initiatives being undertaken by the Ministry and the wider farming community, within the context of national development goals.
Agriculture State Minister Errol Ennis, in his contribution to the 2005/06 Sectoral Debate in Gordon House on June 22, informed that the strategy served to outline the medium term objectives necessary to achieve the broader goals envisioned by 2020.
“It is aimed at transforming agriculture in Jamaica. The major objective is to develop a sector, which is responsive to global imperatives, is market driven and which will significantly impact on wealth creation, particularly in the rural economy,” he said.
He pointed out, that the plan would be private sector led and was expected to play a major role in the revitalization of rural communities and creating stronger linkages with other sectors.
In designing the plan, Mr. Ennis said that consideration was given to the global trade environment and the negotiations in which Jamaica was involved, and these include the World Trade Organization/Doha Round; Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA); European Union as well as the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).
“It is important to note that Jamaica is fully involved in all of these negotiations, as any strategy for the development of the agricultural sector must be an integral part of this process, which will determine the rules for trade in goods, services and intellectual property and in establishing standards for agricultural commodities and processed foods,” he stated.
Through its targeted action plans, the Agricultural Strategy, Mr. Ennis said, would facilitate procedures to increase the production of high value commodities and encourage the development of integrated, competitive and efficient enterprises, which can make a significant contribution to national food security, employment generation, the sustainability of the environment and rural development.
He said the strategy would achieve all this by building on the considerable strengths, which already exist in the sector, such as good quality land, large land holdings of the state, which could become available for development; high demand for products especially for niche markets; competitive advantage in some products based on quality; network of institutions established in the past as well as strong farmers organization such as the Jamaica Agricultural Society, the 4-H Movement and commodity associations.
It will also seek to reduce or remove constraints against the sector such as small size of holdings, limited application of technology, high cost and limited access to financing, and unattractiveness of farming to young persons.
The strategy emphasizes several critical objectives such as the reduction of praedial larceny; improvement in infrastructure such as roads and irrigation; improved marketing and credit, and increased involvement of youth in agriculture.The Jamaican government will be one of the main source of financing of this project.