JIS News

The Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) yesterday (Oct. 1) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA) to collaborate for the design and development of technical assistance programmes relevant to the needs of both organisations.
At a press conference held at the JAS’ Church Street offices in Kingston, President of the JAS, Senator Norman Grant, explained that the two organizations have agreed to work together to provide government guidelines on policies and initiatives, relevant to both the agricultural and manufacturing sectors. The partnership will entail collaboration with other sectors including tourism and information technology, he informed.
He pointed out that the MOU did not constitute an enforceable contract, but was an agreement between the parties that they would meet regularly to ensure the continuous sharing of information and to strengthen the relationship between the farming community and the manufacturers.
Senator Grant noted that for too long, the agriculture and manufacturing sectors have been seen as separate, with the agro-processing industry’s estimated 30 per cent contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) not credited in any way to the agricultural sector. “You can’t have that sector (agro-processing) without the raw material. Although some of those raw materials come in from overseas, the statement that this makes is that we have the market, so our farmers can in fact produce to contribute more to GDP,” he said.
The alliance therefore, “is a great step in making the JAS more relevant and most importantly, be the voice in Jamaica that speaks for all farmers. Over the next three years, we will be going out to ensure that this organisation takes the shape, form and flavour that will attract every single sub-sector within agriculture,” Senator Grant pointed out.
Describing the alliance as very timely, he said it would enhance the JAS’ thrust to implement a central marketing system of fresh produce and vegetables. “The fresh produce that we can’t get into the supermarkets or into the hotels, the agro processors can take that off our hands. So, the time when farmers produce and have a glut should be behind us as a result of this collaborative effort between the farmers and the manufacturers,” he stated.
He said the JMA was fully supportive of the JAS’ efforts to improve agriculture and has endorsed the ‘Eat Jamaican’ campaign, designed to encourage more Jamaicans to eat locally produced goods. The campaign will be launched on October 18 under the theme, “Farming, Our Heritage, Farming Our Culture, From Land to Mouth – We Are What We Eat, So Let Us Eat Jamaican”.
Meanwhile, President of the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA), Doreen Frankson has endorsed the need for stronger ties between the agricultural and the manufacturing sectors to confront the local and international challenges that face both industries.
She pointed out that the farming and manufacturing sectors contributed a significant amount to the country’s GDP and provided direct employment for over 300,000 persons. “These variables can be easily increased if we create synergies and add value to our primary products, thereby confronting the challenges that impact on our sector in a united way,” she stated.
She further charged farmers to supply food processors in the manufacturing sector with the best quality raw material, and to apply more scientific methods to the production process to create unique Jamaican brands. “We need to work now to build and improve the linkages between our industries,” she remarked.

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