Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., says the Ministry’s ‘Grow Smart, Eat Smart’ campaign aims to drive resilience in the sector.
Mr. Charles was making his contribution to a panel discussion held during a Ministers’ Summit at the World Free Zones Organization (World FZO) AICE Conference 2022, in Montego Bay, St. James, on Wednesday (June 15).
“We recently launched our new national campaign, ‘Grow Smart, Eat Smart’ which improves on what we have been doing over the years, but really and truly, the underpinning of it, is a focus on driving resilience, advancing sustainability, improving efficiency, making sure we can do more with what we have,” Minister Charles underscored.
The ‘Grow Smart, Eat Smart’ campaign will target several priority areas, among them crop production, climate-smart practices and technologies, access to finance, and advancing and expanding insurance for farmers with a focus on praedial larceny.
“It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it, and so as we drive and seek to improve production, we are looking on not just continuing to boost in terms of growing more, but wasting less and improving the operations. So, every inch of land will be more efficiently utilised with an empirical approach that’s going to assist us in building the resilience between… for instance… agriculture and tourism,” he outlined.
Meanwhile, Mr. Charles informed that the subsectors of agriculture suffered a loss of some $17.8 billion due to the closure of restaurants and hotels during the pandemic.
“It is critical for us to not just find a way to operate during the storm but to record it, learn from it and to ensure that our practices become more efficient,” he said.
“We were able to bounce back because we focused on buy-back programmes that supported farmers in moving their products and… consumers getting products at affordable costs. We had targeted marketing programmes around consumption of eggs, for instance, and subsidies to drive those products.
Also on the panel were Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett; Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister, Hon Floyd Green; and Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Matthew Samuda.
The World FZO 2022 AICE conference was hosted by the Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority (JSEZA) under the theme ‘Building resilience for global sustainability; accelerating recovery and prosperity’.
The conference ran from June 12 to June 15 and featured world-class speakers and senior policymakers, academics, multilateral organisations and global business leaders from over 100 countries. Delegations from international free zones shared best practices and fostered public awareness on the role and contribution of free zones to economic growth.