JIS News

A Ministry of Agriculture workshop was held on October 14 at the Christiana Potato Growers Co-operative Centre in Christiana, Manchester, to draft a development policy for a roots and tubers sector in the island.
The event was supported by three facilitators from the International Trade Centre (ITC), who made presentations on the trends in the roots and tubers market, buyer requirement, design distribution channels, and ways to form strategic alliances.
Chief Technical Director in the Ministry of Agriculture, Don McGlashan, told JIS News that the workshop was a follow up to one held earlier this year with African Pacific and Caribbean (ACP) countries, which looked at the different development needs with respect to commodity products in the various countries.
“This particular workshop is to assist in the development of a sector strategy for the roots and tubers in Jamaica and the value chain approach being used. The discussions involved farmers, suppliers, purchasers, the hotel sector and the support institutions, (which are) Ministry of Agriculture and the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA),” he informed.
Mr. McGlashan further noted that the information gathered from the stakeholders at the workshop will be reflected in the final policy document, as the way forward must take into consideration all the key players in the industry.
“The information presented here today involved for example, what exactly are the products in roots and tubers for which we may have competitive advantage; some of the products, and the value added, which we can be added from these products; the markets that we can penetrate, and the whole matter of looking at the nutrition of some of these roots and tubers and how we can move forward in having them being a main stay in our agriculture and marketing systems,” he added.
Mr. McGlashan pointed out that at the end of the discussions a comprehensive report will be made. “The document that we will craft from this proceeding will not reflect singularly the Ministry of Agriculture, but a collective approach to how we move forward. We are on the cusp of an agricultural revolution where we have to define the things which we can do well, how we are going to do them, and have an action plan in getting there.” The next workshop will be held on October 23, in Kingston.