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Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Michael Stern, has said that growth in the agricultural sector could serve as a catalyst for expansion in other areas of the economy, such as manufacturing.
He also pointed out that with expansion in those sectors, the country would benefit from employment creation.
Delivering the main address at the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) Science and Technology Expo, held at the Golf View Hotel in Mandeville on February 28, the State Minister noted that recently several new food products had been developed from local raw materials for commercial purpose, and subsequent divestment to the private sector.
“The production of value-added products has stimulated demand for agricultural crops, thereby increasing market size for agro-products and creating farming opportunities. And our farmers need to collaborate and utilize the technologies available to boost the economy. With the advances in technology comes the evolvement of dynamic and changing marketplaces, and for Jamaica to successfully compete in the global market, it has to efficiently produce quality goods at international standards,” Mr. Stern said.
He commended the JPS for the expo, describing it as a developmental means, to motivate and expose students and teachers to expand their knowledge in science.
“This unique intervention involves students from all ages. I note that over the past five years a number of impressive innovations have come to the fore, including a mulching evaluation process, which was devised by Bethlehem Moravian College in 2007; a fire-resistant emergency shelter, created by Denham Town Primary in 2006; biogas from yam, engineered by St. Mary High School in 2006, and an anti-fungal cream from Kilsyth Primary School in Clarendon,” he said.
“These are creations that must be encouraged. Every participant will be a winner, because science and technological innovations are directions in which we must go,” the State Minister stressed.
Manchester based Decarteret College won the overall prize for a display on sustainable energy use. The college received $100,000 and a trophy, plus $30,000 for the three teachers and $25,000 for the two students who made the presentation. The school also won the best male presenter category, with a cash prize of $5,000 and a plaque.