The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries will be conducting an assessment of all its leased agricultural lands, to ensure they are being used for financially viable and sustainable activities that can contribute to economic growth and job creation.
This was announced by Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Floyd Green, who noted that this exercise will be carried out by government-owned land management company, Sugar Company of Jamaica Holdings Limited (SCJH).
“I am putting the lessees on guard. I have given the SCJH strict instructions – if you lease land from the Government, you should be using it; you should be creating jobs; you should be moving the economy, and this is the year of ‘use it or lose it’,” he warned.
The Minister was making his contribution to the 2021/22 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Wednesday (May 12).
Mr. Green noted that SCJH, which operates specifically to support job creation, improve foreign trade and increase productivity, has leased 25,000 acres of land between 2018 and 2021.
The purposes for which the lands were leased include the cultivation of sugar cane, cash crops, hemp, cannabis, and castor beans; animal rearing; agro-processing, commercial activities; solar energy; mining of aggregates; and a climate-smart demonstration site, the Minister informed.
In the meantime, Mr. Green informed that more titles will be provided for holders of agricultural lands this year.
“I met with Minister (without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Senator the Hon.) Aubyn Hill, and he has set an ambitious target of [issuing] 10,000 [land] titles for this year, and I want to assure my agricultural land holders that the significant majority of those titles will be for agricultural land,” he said.