JIS News

Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, Victor Cummings has said that the demand for honey is increasing, particularly with North America experiencing a problem in the industry.
“The bees are dying off and people are contacting us already to see how we can increase our supply of honey production and other byproducts from honey, in order to assist the American market,” said Mr. Cummings. “We are even being approached to see if we can start to produce queen bees that we can export to North America to assist them, as we have shown them that our queen bees are very resistant to the problem they are having, so there is tremendous growth there,” he added.
The State Minister was speaking at the 85th annual general meeting of the Kingston and St. Andrew Association of Branch Societies of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), held at St. Jude’s Church Hall in Stony Hill, today (May 9). Mr. Cummings said that the Ministry and the Agricultural Support Services Project (ASSP) have consolidated the sub sector of apiculture into a viable sector, through the provision of training, loans and infrastructure in the sum of $83 million over the last three years.
“We have also, in this area, provided approximately $20 million in loans and we have trained 20 new entrants, expanding our apprenticeship programme from 50 to 80 persons and providing loans to existing bee farmers and bringing them up to a level,” the State Minister informed. He reiterated the Government’s commitment to the development of the agricultural sector.
“This government regards the agricultural sector as central to its economic development policy. The sector, with its strong linkage to tourism and manufacturing and being mainstay of the rural economy, must provide the springboard for sustainable growth in our economy,” said Mr. Cummings. He noted that real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the sector grew by 15.9 per cent last year, adding that the agricultural growth was underpinned by a 15.7 per cent increase in domestic food crops, 47.4 per cent in export crops and 49.8 per cent growth in fishing.
“This remarkable performance stands as a vindication of the deliberate and conscious emphasis placed on the sector by the government. It is no secret that last year our subvention was increased to over $4 billion and this year it has once again been increased,” said Mr. Cummings.
He pointed out that the deliberate effort made by the Ministry to promote high yields in non-traditional commodities and the support given the sector through many programmes and projects, has paid high dividends.

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