Rain-Fed Agriculture Will Not Reduce Poverty Says Senator Hylton


Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Anthony Hylton told the recently concluded Summit of the Group of Fifteen (G-15) that the Government of Jamaica was in the process of strengthening the policy framework to facilitate rural development.
Citing the strong link between rural poverty and a high dependence on agriculture, Senator Hylton said a sustainable rural development policy aimed at promoting growth in rural areas while protecting the environment has also been proposed. He was addressing the Summit in Havana, Cuba, prior to the meeting of Heads of State for the 14th Summit of the Non Aligned Movement (NAM).
Speaking to the theme of the G-15 Summit, ‘Rural and Agricultural Development and the Management of Water Resources’, Senator Hylton said “the policy integrally links expansion and modernization of the agriculture sector with opportunities for diversification into non-farm activities. It is articulated with tourism and bauxite expansion being undertaken”.
Simultaneously, he pointed out, a national strategy was being developed to “head off and mitigate” the negative impact of the changes to the European Union (EU) sugar regime. “This strategy seeks to modernize and diversify the sugar cane industry and create important linkages with the energy sector, specifically bio-fuels such as ethanol. It will give rural residents the opportunity of pursuing new occupations and bring them more in line with developments in a technologically-driven world,” the Foreign Affairs Minister stated.
Senator Hylton said the Jamaican Government had placed renewed emphasis on the link between agricultural and land policies, demonstrating that land reform policies could be used to spur agricultural development and poverty alleviation. He noted that measures were also being implemented to alleviate the impact of natural hazards such as floods and drought to rural communities through disaster risk management and emergency reconstruction. The Minister further told the Summit that special effort was being made to involve the youth in agriculture, through a number of initiatives.
“The link between sustainable rural development and agriculture and Integrated Water Resources Management must be recognized. Sustainable rural development and agriculture depend on safe, reliable and adequate water resources,” and integrated water resources management must be practiced if “sustainable development and increased productivity are to be achieved. Rain fed agriculture will not reduce poverty in rural areas. Irrigation can make a major difference but our farmers will require adequate training”.
Within the context of the theme of the Summit focus was placed on the topic of water resources as an avenue for the development of rural areas; and the promotion of agriculture in the pursuit of sustainable economic and social development.
The G-15 was established in1989 and is currently chaired by Algeria, which will be succeeded by Iran. The Group acts as a catalyst for greater South/ South cooperation, especially in the areas of investment, trade and technology.
It is concerned with the development, economic growth and prosperity among developing countries in the South and seeks to assist developing countries in their effort to pursue a more productive North/ South dialogue.

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