JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries is targeting another 8,093 hectares (20,000 acres) of Government land for development into agro-parks over the next five years.
  • The move forms part of the Ministry’s undertaking to preserve and utilise the 271,600 hectares, or 25 per cent, of Jamaica’s just over one million hectares of land, deemed suitable for agriculture.
  • It will also significantly boost the 754 hectares of land developed over the last two years, for the nine agro-parks currently in operation.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries is targeting another 8,093 hectares (20,000 acres) of Government land for development into agro-parks over the next five years.

The move forms part of the Ministry’s undertaking to preserve and utilise the 271,600 hectares, or 25 per cent, of Jamaica’s just over one million hectares of land, deemed suitable for agriculture. It will also significantly boost the 754 hectares of land developed over the last two years, for the nine agro-parks currently in operation.

Agriculture, Labour and Social Security Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier, made the revelation during his 2015/16 Sectoral Debate presentation in the House of Representatives, on Tuesday, April 21, under the theme: ‘Making Jamaica’s Agriculture Sustainable’.

Mr. Kellier said while the Ministry has implemented its National Soil Health Programme, to preserve the soil’s fertility, “good agricultural lands” are being lost at an “alarming” rate to other economic activities, such as housing developments.

Consequent on this, the Minister advised that the Agricultural Land Utilization Policy is slated to be jointly tabled in Parliament this year, by the Ministries of Agriculture and Fisheries, and Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change.

He explained that the proposal aims to create the policy environment to protect “the most critical resource for agricultural production, our lands.”

Mr. Kellier also urged collective implementation of the Land Development and Utilization Act, “to get good, fertile, idle agricultural land into production.”

He underscored that the Ministry is not prepared to relinquish prime arable land, which he described as a “diminishing factor”, for any engagement other than agriculture.