Jamaica has been commended for achieving a 22.3 per cent increase in domestic food crop production for the second quarter of 2009, by Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture (IICA), Dr. Chelston Brathwaite.
Last week, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, announced that the last three quarters saw consecutive periods of expansion when compared to similar periods last year. He said there was a 14.4 per cent increase in the December quarter, 16 per cent in the March quarter and 22.3 per cent for the last quarter.
Speaking at the launch of the fifth Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture and Rural Life, at the Terra Nova All Suite Hotel in Kingston, today (July 28), Dr. Brathwaite said the increase showed that Jamaica could produce enough food to meet its needs.
“This is a very positive sign that the agricultural sector can indeed contribute to food security of this nation, and that we can begin to feed ourselves, contrary to historical beliefs that we must in fact continue the colonial legacy of importing our food from elsewhere,” he said.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Donovan Stanberry (left), in discussion with Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture (IICA), Dr Chelston Brathwaite, at the launch of the ‘Week of Agriculture and Rural Life of the Americas’ meeting, to be held in Montego Bay, St. James, from October 25-31. The launch was held at the Terra Nova All Suite Hotel in Kingston, today (July 28).
Dr. Brathwaite also highlighted the work of the farmers in trying to ensure food security and praised them for adopting some of the new practices introduced by the Ministry.
Turning to recent initiatives by the Ministry to boost agricultural production, Dr. Braithwaite said that IICA viewed the establishment of the Agro-Investment Corporation as “very important,” especially in light of the reluctance of some development banks to invest in agriculture.
He also had high praise for the Ministry’s Production and Productivity Programme and the recently established Centre for Excellence for Advanced Technology in Agriculture. “We believe that these are initiatives that will redound to the benefit of agriculture in the long term,” Dr. Brathwaite argued.