The Government, through the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, has started an initiative that will focus on Food Security, Agribusiness Development, Climate Smart Technologies and Export Expansion (FACE).
During the sitting of the House of Representatives on Wednesday (May 12), Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Floyd Green, explained aspects of the initiative when making his contribution to the 2021/22 Sectoral Debate.
“We are not out of the woods yet, as the (COVID-19) pandemic continues to ravage supply chains, distort market demands and drive up the worldwide prices of corn and soya bean that are critical to animal feed, and nitrogen which is critical to fertilisers,” the Minister said.
“We are still in a time of crisis, which is why I ask my parliamentary colleagues and Jamaica to join with me and the Ministry’s team as we craft the new FACE of food, focusing on Food Security, Agribusiness Development, Climate Smart Technologies and Export Expansion,” he added.
Mr. Green said the new FACE of food revolves around research.
“If Jamaica is to truly fulfil its green and blue economy potential, we must return to the days when Bodles was considered the premier agricultural research facility in the Western Hemisphere. It is for this reason that over the past three years, the Government has been executing a programme of a massive development of our research stations under the Bodles Redevelopment Programme,” the Minister added.
With this in mind, he said some $635 million has been pumped into newly built and refurbished facilities, including staff facilities, a genetic preservation centre, high security perimeter fencing, high-tech dairy system, irrigation and road infrastructure, protected agriculture and nursery facilities, pasture and fodder banks, nutrition and chemical laboratories, as well as new machinery such as tractors, implements and total mixed ration (TMR) system.
“For this year, an additional $150 million has been committed to complete our new state-of-the-art milking system. This will bring the total injection into research and development over the last three years to $750 million,” Minister Green noted.
This is to guarantee the return of Bodles Research Station to its former glory in leading the research and application of new technology for adoption by our farmers across several sectors.
“This is not a short-term drive. We must refocus our sector on research and development. This is a long-term strategy, and as such, the Government’s Public Investment Management Secretariat (PIMSEC) has approved a 10-year $5.4-billion project to continue the work to bring all our research and development facilities to the cutting-edge [of technology],” he said.