JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Significant investments are being made in the sector by private entities, even while overseas markets are being expanded for Jamaican produce.
  • Currently business interests in North America are making plans to import Jamaican foods.
  • Government will shortly donate 50 cows to each of the islands’ four agricultural schools, as part of efforts to encourage youth to get involved in dairy farming.

Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Roger Clarke, says significant investments are being made in the sector by private entities, even while overseas markets are being expanded for Jamaican produce.

He disclosed that currently business interests in North America are making plans to import Jamaican foods, while Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Donovon Stanberry, is in the United Kingdom finalising plans for exports to that country.

“They want to expand significantly the products that we send there, chief among them, sweet potato,” the Minister disclosed while addressing the launch of the Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show, on Wednesday, June 4, at ACE Supercentre, at White Marl, St. Catherine.

He noted that an investment of over $800 million by the Jamaica Broilers Group, in a grain facility, demonstrates the private sector’s confidence in agriculture. He highlighted also that Caribbean Broilers is pumping $3.5 billion into poultry expansion.

Meanwhile, Minister Clarke informed that it was recently discovered that the variety in Irish potato used to make ‘fries’ is available locally, and there will therefore be targeted production of this variety, in order to reduce the over $800 million spent to import the product . “It can be grown here, and it is going to be grown,” he stated.

Turning to dairy, Mr. Clarke said the Government will shortly donate 50 cows to each of the islands’ four agricultural schools, as part of efforts to encourage youth to get involved in dairy farming.

“What we want is to make our young people appreciate the value of our locally produced foods. Every time we buy from our farmers in Jamaica, we enrich our farmers,” Minister Clarke said.

Additionally, he reported that the sugar industry is rebounding, with a 20,000-tonne increase in output. “This is going to be the highest level of sugar production, since 2007. Last year we went down to 128,000 (tonnes), this year we are going to be producing 148,000 tonnes,” the Minister outlined.

The Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show, will be staged at the Denbigh show ground, in May Pen, Clarendon, from August 1 to 3. Minister Clarke urged the organisers, the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), to use the occasion to encourage productivity in the farming community.

“Denbigh is a critical element in what we do. It is that place where our farmers gather each year, to be recognised as the pillar of growth and development in this country,” he stated.