Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Roger Clarke, says the Government has received a US$15.1 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), to assist in financing the Agricultural Competitiveness Programme (ACP).
Addressing the Christiana Potato Growers’ Co-operative Association’s annual general meeting in Manchester, on February 16, Mr. Clarke said the ACP, to be implemented by the Ministry through the Agro-Investment Corporation (AIC) over a five-year period, aims to support the Government’s efforts to improve the agricultural sector’s competitiveness.
This will be done through the implementation of a series of activities, including working on identifying viable value chains for development.
“The overall project is aimed at promoting market access by small and medium sized farmers; improving the performance of the country’s food quality and safety management system; and stimulating private sector investments in the agricultural sector,” he outlined.
Noting that stakeholders in other countries, particularly in the private sector, have invested “heavily” in creating and maintaining value chains for crops that they have a competitive and comparative advantage in, the Minister contended that there was no reason why similar pursuits could not be undertaken locally.
“Developing value chains should be the buzz word on all our lips, because value chains ensure that entrepreneurs remain more competitive by seeking out opportunities in the dynamic marketplace, and linking production and processing requirements to meet those demands,” Mr. Clarke argued.
By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter