JIS News

Finance and Public Service Minister, Audley Shaw, has said that the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is looking at assisting in the expansion of an agricultural greenhouse technology pilot project in his North East Manchester constituency.
Addressing the launch of the FINPYME company competitiveness programme at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, in Kingston on Monday (Mar. 2), Mr. Shaw said that during his recent visit to Jamaica, IDB President, Luis Alberto Moreno, visited the project and was “extremely impressed” with it.
“They (IDB) have already dispatched a team to look at that, to see how they can move it from the pilot stage into the hands of our small farmers. We are showing our farmers a better way to be more productive, to have higher yields, in terms of production, to be more reliable in delivery, and to be able to make a decent profit as small farmers,” he outlined
Mr. Shaw further said that packaging house and refrigeration facilities are already in place, and there is now a need to put in packaging and grading arrangements, as well as establish proper distribution channels and clientele such as supermarkets, hotels and other end users, locally and regionally.
“There are countries like Barbados (that) have no space to grow anything, but they are consuming, and they have high tourist arrivals. So we have markets in the Caribbean region that we can penetrate,” he said.
The Finance Minister stressed the need to develop linkages, such as green house technology to support local sectors, in light of the challenges posed by the prevailing global economic downturn.
He noted that the crisis presented opportunities for Jamaicans to become more productive, and to get into the “income-earning stream”, adding that the economy must be transformed from being too engaged in selling to one that produces.
“We need to differentiate our economic base by not only buying and selling, but producing what we sell. We have got to seize the moment to transform our economy to one that is characterized by a production culture,” he said.
Mr. Shaw contended that the FINPYME company competitiveness programme was an ideal channel to examine best practices, and improve productivity and technology, in efforts at transforming the Jamaica economy and returning it to the position of prominence it had in previous years.
“In the 1960s, Jamaica was one of the top eight countries in the world in productivity growth. We were growing by 4.5 percent per year. Productivity growth in Jamaica has been in persistent decline for the past two decades,” he said.
He asserted the urgency of addressing areas of informal activity, training stakeholders in the process.
“We need to restore discipline, we need to return to ingenuity, creativity, (and) inventiveness, and we have the capacity (to do so). We must take that capacity and let it work for us, so that we can stop worrying where the dollar will be tomorrow. The future of our dollar will always be uncertain, unless we can return to production and earnings in our country,” Mr. Shaw stressed.
The FINPYME, an innovative diagnostic review initiative of the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC), an arm of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), is designed to empower small and medium-sized enterprises by providing them with the tools necessary to become more competitive, thereby enhancing their access to potential sources of funding.