Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw, says he is pleased with the interest from the private sector in the use of former sugar-cane lands for agricultural ventures.
He said that the Ministry completed an audit of Government-owned lands managed by the SCJ Holdings Limited and “invited private-sector investors to partner with us by leasing the lands no longer needed for sugar-cane production to cultivate appropriate crops”.
“I am pleased to inform you that the response, to date, has been very favourable, and we look forward to getting these lands into production in the shortest possible time,” he noted.
“Our vision is to see our irrigable lands in full agricultural production, where we can provide high-quality, primary and value-added products for both the local and international markets, including CARICOM and the tourism industry,” he added.
He was speaking at the opening of the Caribbean Urban Forum 2018 at the University of Technology on Wednesday (June 27).
Minister Shaw said that events such as the Caribbean Urban Forum can help with spreading the message of the need to have more private investments in agriculture, not only in Jamaica, but the entire region.
The Caribbean Urban Forum, being held from June 27 to 29, is designed to address specific policy issues within the Caribbean urban sector and further advance land-use planning and urban management within the region.
More than 200 participants from countries across the region are in attendance, including land-use practitioners, policymakers, academics and allied professionals interested in urban and management issues within the Caribbean.