JIS News

Minister of Agriculture, Roger Clarke has said that the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) provided favourable conditions for the growth and development of agriculture, on which so many Caribbean economies were dependent.
He noted that protocol five of the treaty, provided for the diversification of agricultural production; intensification of agro-industrial development; expansion of agri-business; placing agricultural production on a market-oriented, competitive and environmentally sound basis; improved income and employment, as well as food and nutrition security and poverty alleviation.
“The achievement of these goals identified in this protocol takes on added urgency in the face of the many threats from natural disasters, the actions and initiatives of our major trading partners and the volatility of world prices for primary commodities,” Minister Clarke emphasised, in his contribution to the 2005/06 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on June 7.
He further pointed out, that the free movement of goods, capital and labour within the region, combined with the right to establish businesses anywhere within the Single Market, “provides worthwhile opportunities for investments and trade in the agricultural sector and our Jamaican farmers and agro-processors are being encouraged to exploit them.”
The Agriculture Minister stressed that the CSME, as a trade and economic agreement, was one of the most favourable agreements to which Jamaica was party. “Only the CSME provides for this depth of integration and for the corresponding benefits,” he noted.
The objectives of the CSME arrangements for agriculture, include the improvement of income and employment opportunities, food and nutrition security, poverty alleviation and the efficient cultivation and production of traditional and non-traditional primary agricultural products.
It also provides for efficient management and sustainable utilisation of the region’s natural resources, including its forests and the living resources of the exclusive economic zones.
Mr. Clarke told members of the House, that the implementation of the Regional Transformation Programme (RTP) had met with some difficulties over the years, particularly in the areas of resource mobilisation at the regional level and achieving adequate levels of investment at the national level.
“In Jamaica, the Ministry of Agriculture has sought to incorporate in its annual budget and corporate plans, the priority areas identified in the RTP such as product diversification, marketing, human resource development, the general thrust to make agricultural production more efficient, as well as institutional strengthening to facilitate increased trade in agri-food commodities.”

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