JIS News

Agriculture and tourism continue to be the strongest performers in the Jamaican economy, according to the Bank of Jamaica’s Quarterly Economic Report for April-June, which was released Wednesday (August 12).
The Report said that Agriculture continues to be one of the few sectors to record positive growth, despite the impact of the global economic crisis. Its recovery is expected to continue, conditional on favourable weather and the ongoing drive to improve productivity.
The only other sector projected to record expansion is the Hotel and Restaurants sector. This sector benefitted from the diversions of visitors to Jamaica from Mexico due to the outbreak of the H1N1 virus there, as well as the advertising and promotional activities of the Ministry of Tourism. In this context total stopover arrivals are expected to grow by 1.5 per cent.
The Agriculture, forestry and fishing sector was estimated to have recorded robust growth, reflecting continued recovery driven by relatively good weather conditions and co-ordinated growth initiatives by the Ministry of Agriculture.
“These initiatives included, inter alia, the development of greenhouse farms and the provision of machinery and lower cost fertiliser to assist farmers in land cultivation and crop development,” the BOJ said.
While domestic crop production remains below pre-Hurricane Ivan levels, the initiatives by the Ministry have enhanced the recovery process.
The industry’s growth reflected increases in both domestic and export crop production. Domestic crop production increased by 22.3 percent, relative to the decline of 11.3 per cent in the corresponding 2008 quarter.
Among crops grown for export, citrus and cocoa were estimated to have grown by 92.6 per cent and 65.4 per cent, respectively, relative to the corresponding period a year earlier. Sugar, however, contracted by 22.0 per cent due to the closure of two major sugar factories slated for divestment.
Growth in Hotels and Restaurants was estimated to be above the average expansion of 1.9 per cent over the last eight quarters. The industry’s performance was inferred from an increase of 7.1 per cent in stop-over arrivals, which offset an estimated decline of 5.5 per cent in activities within the restaurant industry.
The performance of the hotels sub-industry reflected the impact of the diversions of visitors to Jamaica from Mexico. The intensified advertising by the Jamaica Tourist Board and industry players, as well as a diversified tourism product continued to play a significant role in growth of the industry, the Report said.

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