JIS News

Mission Director for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Dr. Karen Hilliard, has commended the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries for its vision and dedication in establishing the Jamaica Agricultural Marketing Information System (JAMIS) website.
She also highlighted what she described as the remarkable growth in the agricultural sector, despite the economic downturn.
Dr. Hilliard was speaking at the launch of the JAMIS website at the Ministry’s Hope Gardens offices, today (December 14). The USAID has provided US$53,000 worth of Information Technology (IT) equipment to modernise the marketing teams’ data collection system. The items include 23 laptops; 23 smart phones; and an independent server to support the website.
In addition, Dr. Hilliard said the agency has provided over US$150,000 worth of technical assistance to develop a non-biased data collection manual for the marketing team; to train 30 marketing officers in the data collection process; to develop the JAMIS software, and the website; and for price-collection review in a two-year timeline for a fully comprehensive, fully functional marketing information system.
“The USAID is dedicated to supporting the system and continuing to help the Ministry to expand it to include production data and forecasting, a buyer-seller forum and other features over the next two to four years,” Dr. Hilliard disclosed.
Pointing to the need for such a system, she noted that economists emphasise that free markets only work well when participants have equitable, timely access to quality price information within the agricultural market. “It is under that premise that the Ministry and the USAID, through the JA Farms project, have embarked on this ambitious endeavour,” Dr. Hilliard said.
The assistance to JAMIS falls specifically under the USAID-funded JA Farms project, which comes to an end this month. Dr. Hilliard noted that a follow-on project – Marketing and Agriculture for Jamaican Improved Competitiveness (MAGIC) – will pick up where JA Farms left off. It will focus on increased production and marketing of horticulture crops, as well as the revitalisation of the cocoa sector.
“We expect the new project team to be on the ground shortly. USAID intends to commit US$14 million to working with the Ministry over the next four years through this new project, and other smaller endeavours,” she said.
JAMIS collects, compiles, and disseminates agricultural data, to aid producers, purchasers, consumers and distributors in the sale and purchase of agricultural produce, nationally, regionally and internationally.

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