JIS News

The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries is in the process of merging the Agricultural Development Corporation, the Agricultural Support Services and Productive Projects Fund Limited to form the Agro-Invest Corporation.
“What this entity will do is address the investment strategy in agriculture,” said portfolio Minister, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, in his contribution to the 2009/10 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives yesterday (July 7).
He said the Ministry will be working with Jamaica Trade and Invest on the venture. “What we want to do is to ensure that we spend some time and focus in encouraging an investment approach to agriculture because in our estimation, the only way agriculture is going to be sustainable, is if there is an application of the fundamental principles of business,” he pointed out.
He said that work attracting investment has already begun with two seminars held, one at the University of the West Indies, Mona and another in New York, USA, with more than 3,000 participants. Currently, the Ministry is working on some 800 expressions of interest for investments in the agricultural sector.
Meanwhile, the Veterinary Services Division of the Ministry has been restructured with the addition of three new veterinarians, seven animal health technicians and four artificial insemination officers.
Also, a molecular biology laboratory was recently opened at a cost of $15 million to enhance the capability of the veterinary service to quickly diagnose animal diseases, including pathogens/bacteria that are of public health and food safety significance.
In the area of plant protection, the Ministry established a Pest Risk Analysis Unit and a Plant Health Surveillance and Pest Response system. Combined, these units will allow the Ministry to monitor plant life and test for any possible risk that may affect local or imported produce.