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Agriculture Minister, Roger Clarke, called on the private sector to make greater investment in agriculture and rural development to stimulate economic growth.
He noted that the government would be taking steps to facilitate the process, “through a series of five road shows islandwide, where we have invited investors to enter into partnerships with us, in an effort to harness private sector capital in profit making agriculture business”.
Minister Clarke was speaking at the World Food Day national ceremony and exhibition today (October 19), at Ardenne High School in Kingston under the theme: ‘Investing in agriculture for food security; the whole world will benefit’.
He said the theme was of great significance as it echoed the Ministry’s vision for poverty reduction and economic growth.
Citing statistics from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica’s Survey of Living Conditions, he noted that “between 1999 and 2005, despite an overall reduction in poverty levels from 16.9 to 14.8 per cent, rural poverty remained 6.3 percentage points higher than the national average”.
He noted however, that with the $1.8 million increase in the overall allocation to the Ministry for financial year 2006/2007, “we are now poised to make even greater strides to re-position the sector as an engine of economic growth and to empower the rural and marginal people of this country”.
An annual observance of the FAO, World Food Day is designed to promote the development of agriculture as a means of eliminating hunger and ensuring food security.