JIS News

The Government is seeking to make a number of changes in the country’s trade policy in order to benefit local producers.
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton gave this assurance at the Annual Conference of the St. Elizabeth Jamaica Agriculture Society (JAS) chapter, held at the Sharon Baptist Church, in the parish on Thursday, June 18.
“If we have a critical economic development activity within our country that is the backbone of rural society and the fundamental ingredient in the proper functioning of our entire country; we need to ensure that there is a policy frame work to support it. And to build and support that activity,” the Minister stated.
He said too often, local trade policy gives advantage to producers in other parts of the world, who are given tremendous support from their Governments.”It would be unfair for us to embrace a trade policy that erodes our own farmers’ capacity, by giving those farmers who have had preferential arrangements, unfettered access to our markets, in this country. There are adjustments that we will make and the farmers will benefit from it,” Dr. Tufton argued.
He stressed that the recession must be used to do what is necessary to put the agricultural sector on a firm footing. “We are about to set up an investment company in the Ministry of Agriculture, to package agricultural investments, we are embarking on a reformed programme to ensure that arable lands are not only preserved, but also put in use and those who have leases for lands and not using it, we are going to invoke the necessary legislation to put it in use,” he informed.
Dr. Tufton said the Government is committed to providing the farmers with support services, such as marketing techniques and up-to-date farming methods, “and bring all critical stakeholders on board, policy makers, and farmers’ organisations like the JAS that will have to be part of this dialogue, in trying to develop a model and an approach that is going to chart a way forward which may be making adjustments to what used to be the case.”

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