JIS News

Minister of Energy, Clive Mullings, has hailed today’s (March 10) inaugural meeting of the Bio-fuels Task Force, a brainchild of the Ministries of Energy and Agriculture, as a significant point in Jamaica’s history.
“The Government of Jamaica is convinced that this is one of the pillars of our development. It is an excellent opportunity for collaboration between the Ministries of Energy and Agriculture, on an issue of national interest as well as for collaboration among the multilateral partners,” he told members of the Task Force.
The Bio-fuels Task Force, which met at the Ministry of Energy, located in the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) building, in Kingston, is made up of representatives from local and international organisations, such as the Planning Institute of Jamaica, PCJ, Scientific Research Council (SRC), Petrojam, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Organisation of American States (OAS), the World Bank and the United States and Brazilian Embassies.
This partnership between the Government and a consortium of multilateral partners, Mr. Mullings said, “demonstrates that when we identify a common goal, we are prepared to work together to achieve it rather than to compete to be first ‘past the post’.”
The Bio-fuels industry will form one of the fulcrums around which Jamaica will be able to gradually break its dependence on imported oil, especially that consumed by the transportation sector. In 2007, of the 28 million barrels of imported petroleum, some 6.1 million barrels were consumed by road and rail transport.
Mr. Mullings asserted that the bio-fuels programme is critical to alleviating the burden of imported oil and therefore must be a priority for the Energy sector at this time.
Concurring with Mr. Mullings, Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Christopher Tufton, said that he was excited at the prospects of this project, as he saw it as complementary to his Ministry’s drive for food security.
“As you know, globally there is strong debate about food for fuel; it does not have to be a debate that focuses on conflicts and differences, because there is sufficient research and evidence out there to support complementing each other in terms of the drive to achieve both advantages (energy and food security),” he said.
“We have a number of crops and produce here that naturally are complementary towards driving food and energy security. As such, we are committed to working with the Task Force to make all the resources that we have at our disposal in the Ministry available towards supporting the initiative,” the Minister added.
Dr. Tufton pointed out that the development of alternative energies would help the agricultural sector to function in a cost-effective manner.
“The other critical thing, from our perspective, why we think this is such an important initiative, is the issue of energy and energy cost. In agriculture, we just had a meeting where we discussed the development of post harvest facilities, cold storage facilities and so on. We want to collaborate with the Ministry of Energy to identify alternative sources of energies to run these facilities and hopefully realise some savings,” he said.

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