Speech

Theme: A Road Map to Sustainable Agricultural Production & Food Security

INTRODUCTORY REMARKS

Mr Speaker, I am very pleased this afternoon to address this Honourable House on the subject that is nearest and dearest to my heart – Agriculture.

Mr Speaker, I wish to immediately reiterate my own commitment as well as the commitment of the Government to sustainably transform and expand the agricultural sector.

Mr Speaker, our goal of increased and sustainable production and food security must continue to be our unwavering focus for, as the COVID-19 pandemic has forcibly reminded us, it is agriculture that is the main cornerstone of our lives, our livelihoods and our economy.

So in my presentation today, Mr Speaker, I will identify and outline some critical aspects of the Ministry’s road map towards Sustainable Agricultural Production & Food Security.

But, Mr Speaker, before I proceed to outline that road map, allow me, first of all, to acknowledge those who make it possible for me to be here – my family, Most Honourable Prime Minister, Cabinet colleagues, parliamentarians and the constituents of North West St Elizabeth, part of the food basket parish of Jamaica.

Let me acknowledge and thank also members of my staff and support team at the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries.

And, last, but by no way least, Mr Speaker, I salute the over 220,000 farmers of Jamaica and the other critical stakeholders in the agricultural sector in Jamaica for their committed and unwavering support of the industry.

Mr Speaker, as we journey along the road to an improved agricultural sector, we recognise that there are systemic challenges that confront the sector. We have identified these challenges over the years and have sought to address them, but we are aware that these are perennial challenges which require persistent and consistent attention.

Our task, Mr Speaker, is therefore to find and implement sustainable solutions to those problems. Our road map seeks to identify those problems and to outline the strategies and actions to resolve those issues.

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