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Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, has said that the food processing sector has the potential to earn the country about US$500 million each year.
Speaking at Sterling Asset Management Limited at its new Barbados Avenue offices, on June 17, Mr. Shaw stated that with the required support, food processing could make up the shortfall left by the closure of the bauxite plants and even outperform the sector.
“There are 20 small processers, who have told us they now export US$50 million per year. They have said to us, if we can get some assistance with retooling in terms of technology, in terms of equipment, we can go 10 times that much to US$500 million in a very short time, because the market exists for what we are producing,” Mr. Shaw said.
He noted that there is a vast market in the Jamaican Diaspora, “where they just cannot get enough of our processed foods” and Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, has instructed that “we work with the process food sector to help them to retool as quickly as possible.”

Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw (second left), cuts the ribbon at Sterling Asset Management Limited first anniversary celebration, at its new Barbados Avenue offices on June 17. Looking on are: Operations Manager, Sterling Asset Management Limited, Judith Bloomfield and Managing Director, Sterling Asset Management Limited, Charles Ross.

Over the past few months, three of the country’s four bauxite plants have closed and it is estimated that the full impact of the loss of the sector to Jamaica will be about US$600 million, representing approximately 10 per cent of the national budget and five percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“In an ironic twist of faith, the land that was waiting to be torn up by the mining of bauxite could very well now be converted by our small farmers into productive agriculture and into the process food industry,” Mr. Shaw said, noting that the 20 food processors need about US$10 million to help them retool their factories.
The Finance Minister, in the meantime, congratulated Sterling Asset Management on its one year anniversary at its present location.
Sterling Asset Management was founded in 2000 with a capital base of $19.5 million nearly four times the stipulated capital requirement of $5 million. Today, the company has a capital base well in excess of $200 million.

Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw (left), is greeted by Operations Manager, Sterling Asset Management Limited, Judith Bloomfield, at Sterling Asset Management Limited’s first anniversary celebration, at its new Barbados Avenue offices on June 17. Looking on is Managing Director, Sterling Asset Management Limited, Charles Ross.

In his remarks, Managing Director of the Company, Charles Ross stated that the company is now embarking on new areas of development and growth.
“Sterling Asset Management Limited has enjoyed very strong growth since our inception. In fact, the company is now positioned to embark on a period of even more rapid growth and expansion,” he informed.
He noted that the financial institution will be rolling out new products and services with a view to diversifying its income stream.
The financial company is licensed and regulated by the Securities Commission of Jamaica and delivers investment management expertise and advice across most asset classes and global markets to corporate, institutional and individual investors.