The Draft National Five-Year Agribusiness Strategy is scheduled to be approved by Cabinet later this month and tabled in Parliament shortly thereafter, so that implementation can start in earnest as soon as possible.
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw, made the disclosure on Tuesday (October 5) while giving an update on the plan, which is aimed at establishing a modern, profitable agribusiness sector.
“It will also positively impact the social and economic transformation of the rural economy, with relevant business models and supporting ecosystems that function to ensure the food and nutritional security for the population of Jamaica in the global context of adverse climate change,” he said.
Minister Shaw was addressing the opening day of the three-day virtual Caribbean AgTech Investment Summit 2021 (CATIS 2021).
The mission of the National Five-Year Agribusiness Strategy is to transition Jamaica’s agriculture industry from low to high technology, thus achieving a paradigm shift in food production and related business activities.
Among the key components of the initiative is low-cost, larger-scale farming with cheaper energy, introduction of large tropical tree orchards, and introduction of an Agro Business Council to facilitate public-private sector cooperation for national food security and modernisation of the industry.
Minister Shaw said the strategy is intended to enable utilisation of farming technologies such as hydroponics, aquaponics, mariculture, vertical farming, container/indoor farming, and commercial scale greenhouse farming.
He is encouraging investors to take hold of the “vast opportunities” available in the sector.
He noted that under the Omnibus Incentives Regime, investors can benefit from zero import duties on machinery, equipment, and other farm inputs, including components for greenhouse farming, income tax relief, and duty concession on raw materials.
Greenhouse farmers can also benefit from PIR through the Jamaica Customs Agency, and the Government has other programmes in place to support the industry, including a 20 per cent duty concession on farm vehicles, and access to Technical Support through the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA)
The forum, which concludes on Thursday (October 7) was organised by the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (CAIPA), in collaboration with the Caribbean Export Development Agency and its partner, the Caribbean Agribusiness Association (CABA).
It is aimed at promoting the Caribbean as a destination for investment in high-tech agribusiness ventures, with a focus on the production of crops, meat, and seafood, as well as value-added products that can be produced in the region using smart technologies.