JIS News

Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, has noted that Jamaican primary producers are being “short changed” within CARICOM due to a subsidised agro processing sector in oil rich Trinidad and Tobago.
He accused the subsidised agro processing sector there of “using raw materials imported extra regionally with unclear duty arrangements,” adding that it is something that has to be examined.
“It is of concern to me that my peanut farmers are unable to compete for the demand of agro processors, due to peanuts from our CARICOM partner, imported extra regionally and processed with subsidised energy and then sent into our market to basically drive our farmers out of business,” Dr. Tufton said.
“I do not want the impression to be created that we do not support CARICOM, but that CARICOM arrangement cannot be at the expense of our local productive capacity, and it’s something we need to examine and have discussions on,” he added.
Dr. Tufton also noted that under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, there are several avenues facilitating support to primary producers. He stated that Jamaica has also, at the policy level, too often failed to give its productive sector and primary producers the benefits of similar forms of support.
“At the same time, we allow our markets to be overrun by external producers who are benefiting from these support mechanisms, even under the WTO arrangements,” he stated.
He noted that the support mechanisms in place under the WTO were set up to build capacity in the agricultural sector, in respective countries and territories.
“We shouldn’t begrudge those who do it, but we should also recognise our own context and ensure that we take the necessary actions to be placed at an advantage in terms of our own food security strategy, and where we can offer support in terms of building that local capacity,” Dr. Tufton said.
Border protection measures that are consistent with WTO rules include: tariffs; tariff rate quota; import permits and licences; anti dumping and countervailing measures; and safeguard measures.
Measures available for providing support for the agricultural sector include: research and development; pest and disease control measures; inspection services; marketing and promotions; infrastructural development; and domestic food aid.

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