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JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Agri sector contributing 6% to GDP
  • Reduce dependence on foreign exchange expenditure on the importation of food

Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Roger Clarke, has called on stakeholders in the agricultural industry to do more to move the sector forward.

He said the sector seems to be caught in a “comfort zone” where it is contributing six per cent to gross domestic product (GDP) and last year, exported some US$274 million in comparison to an import bill of nearly US$1 billion.

“This is no comfort zone for our country,” he said, stating that the sector must move into new “realms of growth and achievement”.

“Our collective duty is to do all we possibly can, to bolster local production, and to reduce our dependence on foreign exchange expenditure on the importation of food.  We can achieve this through increasing production, through sound management and the application of modern technologies,” Minister Clarke said.

He was addressing a contract signing and ground breaking ceremony held on July 18 in Hague, Trelawny, for a new parish office for the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA).

The Agriculture Minister said that there are already moves in the right direction, citing the agro-parks project, which is targeted specifically at import substitution, by planting crops that are imported in high volume.

He also mentioned efforts by RADA to modernise its operations by way of computer-aided technologies; and the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Mona School of Business to pursue computer-aided solutions to solve problems within the sector.