JIS News

The week-long 5th Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture and Rural Life in the Americas, at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, in Montego Bay St. James, is already reaping success with delegates hammering out a draft agro plan to be debated by the Ministers from 34 hemispheric countries on Wednesday.
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, told JIS News Tuesday night (October 27) that the delegates have been meeting since Monday to hammer out the plan. On Wednesday, when the 34 Ministers of Agriculture and Under-secretaries from Canada and the United States meet, they will discuss it and, hopefully, give approval.
However, Dr. Tufton pointed out that the plan of action would not become effective before 2015.
Tuesday’s deliberations followed the official opening ceremony, at which Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding delivered the main address.
“I think we’ve gotten good consensus from all the technical delegates, and we now have a plan of action for the Ministers to adopt and that will be implemented, monitored and supported by IICA(the Inter-American Institute for Co-operation in Agriculture),” Permanent Secretary in Jamaica’s Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Donovan Stanberry, told JIS News, Tuesday.
He said that, in addition, a report is to be submitted Wednesday afternoon on support from the Private Sector, following dialogue among members of the sector who are looking at issues affecting their involvement in agricultural development.
“We feel that we need to move the debate from just the technocrats and politicians, to include the private sector, which is a critical player if we’re going to have the investment in agriculture,” Mr. Stanberry said.
General Manager of the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), Earl Jarrett, has been leading the private sector charge. They are expected to make a presentation dealing with the issues confronting them, the Permanent Secretary said.
He acknowledged that there was renewed vigour to have greater private sector involvement in agriculture, as it represented an opportunity for big business.
“We are trying to position agriculture as a good investment prospect, especially in this global economic decline where paper trading has collapsed. It is now time to invest in the real sector, and agriculture is where that should start,” he suggested.
He says at the end of the deliberations on Friday, a hemispheric work plan would have been developed, to identify all the strategic elements needed to significantly improve agricultural production and productivity in the hemisphere.
Among those attending the meeting are: Secretary General of the Organisation of American states (OAS), Jose Miguel Inzula; Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture (IICA) Dr. Chelston Braithwaite; Executive Director of UN Economic Commission on Latin America (ECLAC), Neil Pierre and Assistant Director General of the UN Food and Agricultural Authority (FAO), Jose Graziano DaSilva.

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