Private investment totalling more than $9 billion has been pumped into the agricultural sector, says Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Karl Samuda.
In addition to that sum, the Minister notes that the Government, with support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), is spending $320 million to build several agro-processing facilities across the island through the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF).
Also, over the next three years, with funding from the IDB, projects valued at more than $650 million will be undertaken by the Government to boost agricultural output in key producing parishes, including the establishment of an agro-park in Spring Garden, Portland.
Mr. Samuda told farmers attending the 122nd Annual General Meeting of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) on July 12 in May Pen that they must establish partnerships to maximise the investments that are coming into agriculture.
“A new interest in agriculture is seen by big corporations in Jamaica. The distributors who used to buy and sell and don’t invest in the land, have started to invest in agriculture,” the Minister said.
He added that hoteliers are now “turning to the farmers” to produce food for their guests, and that this new thrust will help to build the agro-industry and ensure that more of the money spent by tourists remains in Jamaica.
The Minister pointed out that more than $208 million is being spent in seven parishes to establish support services for farmers, including the necessary infrastructure to sustain the high production of crops.
Mr. Samuda also noted that $50 million is being provided to assist small farmers islandwide through the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA).