JIS News

The Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) will be forging a greater partnership with the tourism sector, through the implementation of a central marketing system. This system will assist farmers to market their produce to the hotel industry as well as for export, by identifying the supply and demand areas locally and abroad.
Speaking with JIS News, President of the JAS, Senator Norman Grant noted that the system, which is to be implemented in another 12 months, would allow for the JAS to collectively purchase produce from farmers and sell to the hotels, rather than individual farmers entering into arrangements with the hotels.
“We have completed a comprehensive business plan and have identified that $100 million will be needed as working capital to buy produce from the farmers,” the Senator revealed.
“The aim of the central marketing system is to collect the goods, grade them and select them carefully, then deliver them to the hotels in refrigerated trucks,” he added.
To aid in this process, he informed that the JAS would soon unveil a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a London-based company to construct four cold rooms and packing centres valued at $20 million, in four strategic locations.
The proposed locations are the Denbigh Showground in Clarendon, Hague in Trelawny, Montpelier in St. James, and Essex Valley in St. Elizabeth.
“This would create the capacity for us, for the very first time, to operate a system that creates reliance with the tourism sector,” he affirmed.
The President noted that the overall initiative was to dispel the belief that the Jamaican farmer was not able to supply products of the required quality, standards and quantity that have been set by the tourism sector.
“It must be noted that seven years ago, the tourism sector in Jamaica was consuming approximately 25 per cent of locally produced after seven years of active partnership, the local agricultural sector is now supplying over 50 per cent of what the tourism sector consumes,” Senator Grant said.
He added that the sector has expressed significant satisfaction in the quality of the local produce, the timing and consistency of the deliveries.
Turning to this year’s staging of the Denbigh Agricultural and Industrial Show, Senator Grant informed that for the first time in over 25 years, the tourism sector would be playing an active role.
The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) and the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) would partner with the JAS to mount an International Village at the Show, where “some of Jamaica’s finest products will be on display, including our coffee and rum,” Senator Grant outlined.
“The exciting bit is that we are now marketing Denbigh to the tourism sector and it is expected that there will be tours coming in from the hotels to the show,” he said.
To be staged at the Denbigh Showground in May Pen, Clarendon, the annual three-day event will be held from August 4 to 6. The JAS is hoping to attract a record 100,000 patrons, up from some 80,000 who attended the show last year.

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