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Minister with responsibility for Information, Telecommunications and Special Projects, Hon. Daryl Vaz, has announced that a dairy industry cess regime has been instituted, to support capacity building in the local milk producing sector.
Speaking at the weekly post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House Tuesday (June 9), Mr. Vaz said the implementation of the cess, effective since May 25, is consistent with the Jamaica Dairy Development Board Act 2009, which provides for a Dairy Sector Revitalization Programme to improve efficiencies within the sector and enhance its international competitiveness.
The cess applies, non-discriminately, to both imports and locally produced milk, by applying a standard assessment to the respective fluid equivalent volume of each product.
Under the governing regime, the Collector of Customs will assess and impose a cess on all importation of milk solids at point of entry. The cess on locally produced milk, calculated at the rate of one per cent of farm-gate price, will be shared equally between farmer and processor.
“The Collector of Customs (will) remit, monthly, all proceeds from the dairy industry cess to the Ministry of Finance and Public Service for the account of the Jamaica Dairy Development Board,” Mr. Vaz said.
He also explained that the cess is commonly used by countries, including the United States, to contribute to capacity building, including research and generic product development.
Cabinet also approved the lease of Wallen’s Dairy Farm, comprising 250 acres of land, to the Beef and Dairy Producers Association of Jamaica (BDPAJ) Limited for 25 years, with five-year rent reviews.
The lease is intended to facilitate the establishment of a Northern St. Catherine Dairy Cluster, to enable the re-entry into the industry of at least sixty 60 small scale farmers who will be invited to each lease a maximum of ten (10) cows to the farm for corporate management.
Wallen’s Dairy will be one component of a proposed development by BDPAJ to increase local fresh milk production, through the participation of small-scale farmers as equity owners, deriving greater benefits from the value chain. The Farm will be intensively managed as a semi-zero grazing system, employing the Total Mixed Ration (TMR) feeding strategy to a herd of 625 cows. Annual output is projected at approximately 2 million litres of milk.
Wallens will form one component of a vertically integrated network, in which the Century Dairy Processing operations at Old Harbour will form the hub for the processing and marketing of local milk.