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Minister of Agriculture and Lands, Roger Clarke, has said that the Ministry is in the process of establishing an investment centre that will promote and facilitate the creation of viable and sustainable projects in the agriculture and agro- industry sectors.
The Minister, who was speaking at the opening of the recently concluded Denbigh Agricultural and Industrial Show in May Pen, Clarendon explained that the creation of this investment sector comes against the background of a series of island-wide road shows hosted by the Ministry last year, where profiles of viable investment opportunities in the agriculture and agro industry sectors were presented to the public.
Following the success of the road shows, he said, the Ministry wanted to put certain facilities in place to ensure the fruition of these investment opportunities. “The road shows highlighting the new and different agriculture have stimulated considerable interests. As a follow up to the road shows, we are now working with 150 (investors) for whom we have completed 25 business plans involving projects with capital investments of some $617 million and to employ over 200 persons,” he informed.
Mr. Clarke explained that when the investment centre is completed, the staff will assist the potential investors through all stages of the investment process leading up to full implementation of projects.
“This involves receiving enquiries, providing investment advice, business counselling, technical and market support services and preparation of business plans and proposals for submission to the appropriate funding institutions,” he informed.
The centre will also benefit from the creation of a national central marketing system to be spearheaded by the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS).
“It is not going to be done by government itself. the farmers organizations are the ones most suitable to put that in place. We are ready to support you, and we will find a way to find the seed money, but agriculture marketing must take centre stage as we move forward in moving the agricultural sector forward,” Mr. Clarke stated.
Denbigh 2007 was held under the theme: ‘Agro-technology, Advancing National Development’.