Gov’t Focused on Building Resilience of Agriculture Sector

Story Highlights

  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the Government is focused on protecting the agriculture sector against the devastating effects of natural disasters.
  • “Agriculture is so important to our national economic strategy. The fastest way to grow our economy is to grow the agriculture sector,” the Prime Minister noted.
  • He informed that he has instructed the Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Karl Samuda “to do the necessary work and develop the necessary policies around (building the resilience)” of the sector.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the Government is focused on protecting the agriculture sector against the devastating effects of natural disasters.

He noted that agriculture is a key growth industry, and damage to the sector due to heavy rains and flooding resulted in slow gross domestic product (GDP) growth for 2017/2018.

“Agriculture is so important to our national economic strategy. The fastest way to grow our economy is to grow the agriculture sector,” the Prime Minister noted.

He informed that he has instructed the Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Karl Samuda “to do the necessary work and develop the necessary policies around (building the resilience)” of the sector.

The Prime Minister was responding to a question raised on the development of agriculture during a social media town hall meeting held at Jamaica House on March 21.

Meanwhile, Vice Chairman of the Economic Growth Council (EGC), Dr. Nigel Clarke, underscored the importance of agriculture to the economic growth of the country.

He explained that out of a suggestion that came from the EGC, the Government is looking to “incentivise or to actually undertake the installation or production of storage facilities that can be used cooperatively by farmers to store excess produce”.

Some products, he pointed out, because of their nature, will need to be placed in cold storage.

He added that such provision would “even out the fluctuations in supply allowing for more stable (market) prices and reducing the risk premiums, which will make it more attractive to farmers”.

Dr. Clarke noted that there is also significant scope to increase the pre-clearance facility space for produce destined for the United States.

“That pre-clearance facility is not used very much, and one of the reasons for that is that the way in which production is organised in silos, coordination doesn’t exist. From an EGC perspective, we’ll be recommending to the Government to ensure that there is greater coordination and make use of the infrastructure that we have here,” he said.

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