MONTEGO BAY – Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller is urging more women to increase their participation and assertiveness in the economic development of their countries.
She issued the call in an address read by Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Sharon Ffolkes Abrahams, at the Supporting Economic Empowerment and Development in the Caribbean and Pacific (SEED CAP) Forum at the Half Moon Conference Centre in Montego Bay on July 12.
Also urging more women to become involved in agriculture in particular, Mrs. Simpson Miller observed the link between gender, nutrition and food security, and poverty.
“It is imperative that we design and implement strategies to increase the involvement of women in agriculture; to diversify their roles and to give greater recognition to their contribution to the sector,” the Prime Minister said.
Noting that women in the Caribbean and sister states of the Pacific islands, play important roles in household food security as income earners, nurturers and managers of natural resources, she said this is why women must play a pivotal role in the eradication of poverty, the elimination of food insecurity, and the promotion of proper nutrition.
“As Government and policy-makers it is critical that we provide the kind of legislative and policy framework and the kind of environment that facilitates the achievement of these goals,” Mrs. Simpson Miller stated.
She observed that women are excelling in important agricultural roles as veterinarians, farm managers and educators.
Meanwhile, Mrs Simpson Miller pointed out that in tandem with the country’s national development plan and vision to become the place of choice to live, work and raise families, one of the chief objectives is having a healthy and stable population.
“We aim to achieve this by advancing the development of an agricultural sector that promotes food security and safety in order to contribute to the well-being of our people,” she informed.
In seeking to achieve these objectives, she said there is a clear role for the increased participation of women in agriculture. “Currently our farmer registration programme shows that only about 33 per cent of Jamaican farmers are women… I would like to encourage more women to give due consideration to becoming more involved in this very vital sector of the economy,” she stated
The Forum is being held over the three days in an effort to expand economic opportunities for women in the agriculture sector in the Caribbean and Pacific Islands. The United States Department of State and Jamaica in collaboration with the other U.S. agencies and the New Zealand Government are hosting the Forum, which brings together businesses, producers, experts and public and private sector representatives.
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JIS REGIONAL OFFICE