JIS News

The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has launched a new programme aimed at putting idle arable lands back into production.
The programme dubbed Arable Lands Irrigated and Growing for the Nation (A.L.I.G.N) was launched Tuesday (February 9), at the Juici Patties Complex, Clarendon Park, Clarendon.
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Dr. the Hon Christopher Tufton, explained that the programme was developed by his Ministry, in consultation with critical stakeholder groups, to identify the most arable lands in Jamaica to put agro investors and farmers back into cultivating them.
“The long and short of it is that, we have to find a way, as a country, to produce better, and land and access to the best lands are absolutely important, so we are launching this programme here and we are going to take it around the island, and it is not just an event it is a process”, he said.
He added that, at this time, Jamaica needs to provide support to the Government’s policy changes, such as the recently announced debt management strategy and that land is fundamental in these policy changes.
“That strategy has started with the lowering of interest rates in this country. What we are saying as a country, particular in these times, (is that) we have to move towards providing that support and land is fundamental to that; we have to protect and preserve those lands that we have,” he said.
He said that the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries’ strategic framework of strong extension receives support through policy initiatives, such as the trade, agricultural land utilization, organic food, agricultural export and food and nutrition security policies.
“All of those present the framework for us to make agriculture a much better opportunity than what it was and, with the lands irrigated, it will improve our chances of success”, he said.