JIS News

Jamaica’s first ornamental fish exposition, which was held last weekend at the Jamaica College campus in Kingston, was a resounding success, with some 7,000 patrons attending the two-day event.
The exposition was organised jointly by the Jamaica Ornamental Fish Farmers Association (JOFFA), and the Fisheries Division of the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands.
“We estimate that we had maybe in excess of 7,000 visitors and most expressed an interest in learning more about the opportunities, which can emerge from growing ornamental fish for export as well as for the local market,” said JOFFA President, Hugh Graham.
He noted that the level of interest in the event augured well for the development of the industry, which he noted, was very lucrative.
Mr. Graham pointed out that given Jamaica’s proximity to the United States, where there was a huge demand for ornamental fish, “it was high time for more and more players to enter the export game”.
“We need to make better use of the opportunity to make significant amounts of foreign exchange so that as a society, we will be much better off.the good thing about this industry is that you don’t have to own much capital in order to survive and make a decent living,” he noted.
Mr. Graham thanked the many agencies of government that have been supporting the efforts of JOFFA over the years, including the Export Import (Ex-Im) Bank, the Jamaica Business Development Centre and the Ministry of Agriculture.
For his part, State Minister for Agriculture and Lands, Victor Cummings, informed that the government was seeking to develop the ornamental fish industry, as a major foreign exchange earner.
As part of the effort, an Inner-City Ornamental Fish Production Project has been established, through which inner-city residents are being trained and provided with grants, to start projects.
He encouraged other inner-city residents to participate in the programme. “We have earmarked some funds to aid in the promotion and setting up of this programme so please don’t hesitate; it is better to learn how to fish than to depend for someone to give you a fish,” the State Minister informed.