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  • Minister without Portfolio in the Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson, says he will be advocating for the removal of general consumption tax (GCT) on imported farm supplies.
  • Mr. Hutchinson noted that these items, which contribute to the development of the local agricultural industry and help to increase farmers’ production, should not attract GCT.
  • He reiterated the need for more idle lands to be irrigated for agricultural production, and cited South Manchester as one such area where approximately 5,000 acres of land remain non-irrigated.

Minister without Portfolio in the Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson, says he will be advocating for the removal of general consumption tax (GCT) on imported farm supplies.

Mr. Hutchinson noted that these items, which contribute to the development of the local agricultural industry and help to increase farmers’ production, should not attract GCT.

“The farmer will have more money to buy two tins of tomato seeds, instead of one,” the Minister emphasised.

Mr. Hutchinson was addressing the final day of a two-day Climate-Smart Agriculture Symposium, held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, in New Kingston, on September 14.

He reiterated the need for more idle lands to be irrigated for agricultural production, and cited South Manchester as one such area where approximately 5,000 acres of land remain non-irrigated.

“No longer can idle lands be lying around and water is available and we do not have farmers on the land. We need to put a better structure into our agricultural sector,” he said.

Consequently, Mr. Hutchinson informed that a number of stakeholders are being engaged, particularly the Cubans, for their input in solar power technology to drive the irrigation process.

Meanwhile, Mr. Hutchinson signalled his intention to begin the Posterity Tree Programme.

Mentioned in his 2016 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, the programme will provide seedlings to persons celebrating a special event or commemorating a special occasion.

“This may be a birthday, a wedding, an anniversary, a graduation or the first purchase of a special item,” Mr. Hutchinson said in his Sectoral presentation.

The Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) will sell a variety of seedlings at their respective parish offices.

Under this programme, the planting of trees is geared towards addressing current issues with climate change.

Organised by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the symposium, which began on September 13, was funded by the Jamaica Rural Economy and Ecosystems Adapting to Climate Change II (Ja REEACH II) project.

The symposium was held under the theme ‘Growing Agriculture and Incomes in the Face of Climate Change’.