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  • State Minister for Agriculture, Labour and Social Security, Hon. Luther Buchanan, says agricultural parishes are being positively impacted by the growth that has been taking place in the sector over the past two years.
  • Quoting recent reports by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), and the Statistical Institute (STATIN), the State Minister noted that the “reduction in poverty in rural parishes is accredited to agricultural production.”
  • As part of its drive to increase local food production, the Government has established nine Agro Parks, which have contributed to the reduction of imported foods.

State Minister for Agriculture, Labour and Social Security, Hon. Luther Buchanan, says agricultural parishes are being positively impacted by the growth that has been taking place in the sector over the past two years.

Quoting recent reports by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), and the Statistical Institute (STATIN), the State Minister noted that the “reduction in poverty in rural parishes is accredited to agricultural production.”

“This serves to confirm to all of us that agriculture can be, and is proving to be the game-changer for the Jamaican economy,” he said.

Mr. Buchanan was addressing the 2015 St. Mary Agri-Expo, held on April 6, at the Gray’s Inn Sports Complex, in Annotto Bay.

“In spite of last year’s drought, the sector remains in the growth mode, and we have every intention of keeping the growth momentum going. Through a deliberate strategy, we selected a number of key areas, such as table Irish potato, and we achieved 90 per cent sufficiency in 2014,” Mr. Buchanan said.

As part of its drive to increase local food production, the Government has established nine Agro Parks, which have contributed to the reduction of imported foods. Between January and October 2014, the national import bill fell by US$34.2 million (4.2 per cent), to US$773.1 million, down from US$807.3 million in 2013.

The State Minister told his audience that there is a high demand for Jamaican fresh produce in North America, and Britain, while “breakthrough” is being made in CARICOM markets for peppers, dasheens, mangoes, bananas, and other produce.

He urged farmers in the parish to take advantage of the markers that have been opened up for bananas and other crops.

“We want you to be a part of this development, and to work with us to ensure that we have the productive capacity and the output to service the markets that love our Jamaican bananas,” he told them.