The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has secured international assistance in the resuscitation of the island’s cocoa industry.
On Thursday (Sept. 17), Portfolio Minister, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton; United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director for Jamaica, Dr. Karen Hilliard; and President of the World Cocoa Foundation, Mr. Bill Guyton signed a declaration of intent, which will provide technical assistance, training, business systems, among other support, to boost production and ensure the sustainability of the sector.
Under the agreement, USAID and the World Cocoa Foundation will provide technological transfer, education/training, and develop market and business systems, which will help to empower small scale cocoa farmers and improve the industry.
The cocoa industry will also receive assistance in disease and pest control, proper land use, as well as assistance in research and environmental practices.
Speaking at the signing ceremony held at the World Cocoa Foundation’s headquarters in Washington DC in the USA, Dr. Tufton said that the agreement would help to revitalise the cocoa industry.
Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton (2nd right), presents a bottle of Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee to World Cocoa Foundation President, Bill Guyton (left), while Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Donovan Stanberry (2nd left) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director for Jamaica, Dr. Karen Hilliard, share the moment. Occasion was the signing of a declaration of intent, which will provide support for the resuscitation of the cocoa industry, on September 16 at the World Cocoa Foundation headquarters in Washington DC in the USA.
He informed that the Government had made a decision to restructure the sector and the assistance would help to move it forward and improve its attractiveness to private investors and new players, so that the sector can take its rightful place in the overseas market.
“This will benefit the farmers and earn well-needed foreign exchange for the country. It is hoped that with the signing of this agreement, we can create a more sustainable industry locally,” Dr. Tufton said.
Dr. Hilliard, in her remarks, stated that the project was ideal for Jamaica. “We look forward to a relationship that will move Jamaica’s cocoa production forward, which will lead to increased income for the Jamaican farmer,” she said.
Mr. Guyton, for his part, said that the foundation was very excited to be a part of the initiative and looked forward to the benefits that could be derived to improve cocoa production in Jamaica as well as assist the farmers.
Accompanying the Minister were Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Mr. Donovan Stanberry and Counsellor for Trade at the Embassy of Jamaica in Washington DC, Mr. Franz Hall.