Jamaica is one of four Caribbean countries set to benefit from a US$25 million pilot project, to be funded and implemented by the Canadian Hunger Foundation in the region over the next two years, aimed at building marketing capacity.
Speaking at Saturday’s (August 4) opening of the 60th Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show, at the Denbigh Showground, May Pen, Clarendon, Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) President, Senator Norman Grant, said Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and St. Vincent are also set to benefit from the pilot project.
The initiative is expected to be pivotal to efforts being mooted by the JAS, for increased regional trade within CARICOM, with the JAS President stressing that, “we need to find a way to make that (project) work."
“For the very first time, we will have an international organisation that will be seeking to partner with local farmers organisations, such as the Jamaica Agricultural Society and the Christiana Potato Growers Association, to be implementers of this project. We can do it, and we will take agriculture to another level,” Senator Grant declared.
The President cited the need for what he described as a “national conversation” locally to explore the possibility of tapping into the markets of CARICOM member states, in order to facilitate inter-regional trade.
“We are, presently, not trading enough within CARICOM, and I think that if we have dialogue we can (explore the possibilities), so that the revenues that are generated are shared by farmers within CARICOM, rather than members seeking to import food within our region,” he argued.
To this end, Senator Grant disclosed that the JAS will be engaging counterpart agricultural organisations from Barbados, Cayman Islands, and Trinidad and Tobago, among others, in dialogue, “as part of our thrust…to see how we can work together to get agricultural trade going in the region."