JIS News

Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Christopher Tufton, has said that his Ministry is collaborating with the Inter-American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture (IICA) on a study to determine the real contribution of the sector to the economy.
Dr. Tufton said that the contribution of the sector to the economy is greatly underrated, because it accounts for just less than six per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), without taking into consideration that agriculture employs 18 to 20 per cent of the labour force.
He noted that globally, agriculture contributes only about four per cent to GDP, but employs about 40 per cent of the workforce.
“So in a sense we are doing a little bit better than the world, but it speaks to some more fundamental issues that, if we can achieve even incremental improvements in productivity levels, by building capacity in agriculture, it could have a major multiplier impact, both globally and nationally,” he said.
The Minister was addressing the National Accountability Seminar held at the Terra Nova Hotel, Kingston, on Monday (March 16).
He commended IICA for seeking greater investment in the primary stages of production, and dissecting the value added component in agro-processing to determine the true value of primary agriculture.
He said that the IICA study would help determine “the true contribution of agriculture.”
“That study has been done in a number of countries and it is quite revealing and, hopefully, when critical agents of economic activity view the type of information that is available from a scientific approach, such as the one that is pursued by IICA, they will be more willing to commit more resources to the sector,” he said.
Dr. Tufton lauded the organisers of the seminar for bringing critical stakeholders together, to discuss and agree on agenda items that are critical to the sector. He also lauded IICA for its contribution to the development of the sector through its collaborative effort.

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