JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J. C. Hutchinson, is encouraging farmers to ramp up production, in order for the country to become a major supplier of agricultural products.
  • Speaking at the opening of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Agricultural Research and Innovation facility in Elim, St. Elizabeth, on June 30, Mr. Hutchinson said the time has come for agriculture to be more than a “sample industry”, and players in the valued-added sector must start delivering high-quality products in large quantities.
  • “The agricultural sector has to be the bedrock of our growth initiatives. It has the capacity to reverse our dependence on imported food and in the process provide a better standard of living for our farmers,” the Minister said.

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J. C. Hutchinson, is encouraging farmers to ramp up production, in order for the country to become a major supplier of agricultural products.

Speaking at the opening of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Agricultural Research and Innovation facility in Elim, St. Elizabeth, on June 30, Mr. Hutchinson said the time has come for agriculture to be more than a “sample industry”, and players in the valued-added sector must start delivering high-quality products in large quantities.

“We have to move to big sustainable enterprises. We have in Jamaica quite a number of entities that produce a number of products, but most of these products are samples – you don’t see them being exported or being sold commercially,” the Minister noted.

He argued that based on its diverse capacity, agriculture must be the foundation of expected economic growth in Jamaica.

“The agricultural sector has to be the bedrock of our growth initiatives. It has the capacity to reverse our dependence on imported food and in the process provide a better standard of living for our farmers,” the Minister said.

Welcoming the opening of the facility, Mr. Hutchinson pointed out that it forms part of his Ministry’s vision of building a strong agricultural sector through the development of agro-industries.

“I would like to congratulate the government of Colombia and the UWI for this wonderful plant. It is one where we all have to work together to make it successful,” he said.

Mr. Hutchinson said the Ministry will be playing a major role to ensure that farmers in St. Elizabeth get back in cassava production, which will provide raw material for the UWI facility.

The facility, which produces cassava flour, is located adjacent to the Sydney Pagon STEM Academy (formerly the Sydney Pagon Agricultural School).