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As the government furthers its goal of repositioning the country’s various sectors towards a path of economic sustainability, Minister of Agriculture, Roger Clarke has disclosed that several sectors within the agricultural industry were to benefit from a collective sum of $200 million.
The sum, which was recently approved by the Cabinet, will come from the Development Fund of the Export Division.
Minister Clarke, who was speaking at Monday’s (January 10) post Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House, said that eight priority areas were identified for assistance, primarily on the basis of their growth potential and ability to boost export earnings.
The areas are: sheep and goat production, which has been allocated $50 million; organic agriculture, $20 million; protected cultivation or hydroponics, $10 million; apiculture, $30 million; fruit tree crops, $50 million; ornamental horticulture, $10 million; fisheries, $15 million, and farmer registration, $15 million.
An additional $30 million, the Minister informed, had also been injected into the expansion of the country’s pimento industry.
Explaining the reason behind the government’s support to the sectors, the Agriculture Minister said: “subsequent to the passing of Hurricanes Charley and Ivan, the Ministry took a serious look at the agricultural sector and while we try to rehabilitate and get the farmers back on their feet, the Ministry sought to identify areas, which had growth potential and secured markets, which would benefit from targeted interventions.”
He added that the interventions were meant to strengthen the overall agriculture industry and also “enhance production and productivity, and enable the agriculture sector to make a greater contribution to food security, import substitution and food processing and to forge stronger links with the tourism and transportation sectors”.