Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Floyd Green, says Jamaica’s agricultural sector is poised to benefit significantly from more than $350 million in additional investments that have been programmed by several business entities.
He outlined details of these during his 2021/22 Sectoral Debate presentation in the House of Representatives on Wednesday (May 12), under the theme ‘The New Face of Food’.
Mr. Green said that leading the way is agro-processing entity Shavout, which plans to construct a new $250-million factory on 511 acres of land being leased from the Government in Innswood, St. Catherine.
The company, which is headquartered in Wynter’s Pen, manufactures teas, castor oil, among other value-added products, 90 per cent of which are exported to 15 countries.
Mr. Green said the entity has recorded a 400 per cent increase in demand for its products since the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which has necessitated the institution of a 24-hour workday, with 53 persons now employed.
The Minister told the House that Spur Tree Spices Limited in Manchester has also committed to invest more than $100 million to develop an agro-processing facility at the Holland Estate in St. Elizabeth.
He advised that the entity has already injected $44 million in this venture.
These investments are in addition to $15 billion by Caribbean Broilers to expand its poultry and related operations; Rainforest Seafoods’ opening of a newly built bammy-making factory; Seprod Limited’s exportation of cassava flour; Salada Foods Jamaica Limited’s production of turmeric and ginger tea; and B & D Trawling Limited’s manufacture of escoveitch sauce.
Additionally, the Minister said Grace Foods is targeting the exportation of 50 per cent of its products by 2025, while Tru Juice is now engaged in milk production.
Meanwhile, Mr. Green advised that he is looking to table the Agro-Investment (Amendment) Bill and open debate on the legislation in the House next week.
“This Bill [will give] the Agro Invest Corporation wide-ranging powers and [allow] it to place renewed focus on investment generation,” he pointed out.