JIS News

Prime Minister Bruce Golding has charged Agriculture Minister, Dr. Christopher Tufton, and his team to focus on linkages between agriculture and other sectors, as well as better alignment with lending institutions.
Mr. Golding also said there should be greater use of intensive agriculture and training opportunities.
He was speaking at the launch of the Centre of Excellence for Advanced Technology in Agriculture, at the Bodles Research Station in Old Harbour, St. Catherine on Friday, March 27.
Mr. Golding said that it is important to have linkages within the market as “research will be of no value if it cannot be converted into dollars”, and that investors need to be engaged in the process.
He said that “the Government is going to have to create a better alignment between the possibilities in agriculture as are identified through research and the use of technology and to have a better alignment between our lending institutions, because without that alignment and without the support of the mobilisers of savings then we won’t be able to get very far.”
The Prime Minister said the food supply chain in agriculture is too long and unstructured, and therefore charged the Ministry to streamline the marketing process, through collaboration with the private sector.
Mr. Golding said the Ministry should also focus on vertical and lateral integration as a means of getting produce to the value-added stage, as well as spreading it across the sectors, “in order to get all the sectors tied in with this endeavour”.
In addition, he said training must involve the dissemination of information and the transferring of technology, but most importantly, it should allow young people to see agriculture from a different perspective.
Mr. Golding touted the Centre as a policy initiative that would begin this process of consolidation.
He pointed out that some 50 years ago, Jamaica had made a promising beginning in the area of practical research that was designed, conceptualised, and driven by a vision to tailor and transform what existed.
“We have allowed that cutting edge approach to research and development we had to slip and we have so much ground to make up,” he remarked.
The Centre of Excellence was established through a US$3 million grant from the Spanish Government, that will be used to fund the first three years of the Centre’s operations.

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