JIS News

Minister of Agriculture and Lands, Roger Clarke, has cited agriculture as the catalyst for economic growth and creating income-earning opportunities for poor persons in rural areas.
Data from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica’s Survey of Living Conditions, he said, indicate that “more than 15,000 rural families rely on the agricultural sector for their economic survival”.
The Minister, who was speaking at the launch of World Food Day yesterday (Sept. 27) at the Ministry’s conference room on Old Hope Road, further noted that approximately 80 per cent of all productive activities in rural Jamaica were agriculture-based, with 90 per cent of all productive processes depending directly or indirectly on the sector for raw material.
He added that with the $1.8 million increase in the overall allocation to the Ministry for financial year 2006/2007, “we are now poised to make even greater strides.to re-position the sector as an engine of economic growth and to empower the rural and marginal people of this country”.
Dr. Dunstan Campbell, Food and Organisation (FAO) Representative to Jamaica, Bahamas and Belize, called on the private sector to make greater investment in agriculture and rural development to stimulate economic and social development and to contribute to peace and stability.
“Agriculture plays an extremely important role in shaping culture, protecting landscape and in general contributing to the well-being of nations. Of the 14 parishes in Jamaica 10 parishes are dependent on agriculture and its cluster of activities for livelihood support. Investing in agriculture for food security would make lots of sense for a country like Jamaica; also, small farmers in Jamaica make up a significant portion of the country’s farming community,” he said.
An annual observance of the FAO, World Food Day is designed to promote the development of agriculture as a means of eliminating hunger and ensuring food security.
While the occasion is observed annually on October 16, Jamaica will mark the day this year on October 19 under the theme: ‘Invest in agriculture for food security: the whole world will benefit’.