The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries will be embarking on a major marketing and production drive during the 2019/20 fiscal year, in a bid to attract large-scale investments to the agricultural sector.
Portfolio Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw, said this will be spearheaded through several of the Ministry’s agencies, including Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) and the Agro-Invest Corporation (AIC), utilising the Agricultural Incentive Programme as a catalyst.
He said the engagement is among several targeted focus areas for implementation, in recognition of the Ministry’s role as a key driver of economic growth.
The Minister was speaking at the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) inaugural Economic Growth Forum, held at the Terra All-Suite Nova Hotel in St. Andrew, on Thursday (March 14).
Shaw said the initiatives are being targeted within the context of the national agriculture development strategy, and will serve as catalysts to enhance production and productivity, improve infrastructure as well as support the expansion of businesses, particularly micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).
He said that although domestic crop production grew by 6.9 per cent during the October to December 2018 quarter, “it cannot be lost on us” that the overall sector grew by just over two per cent during the period.
“Agriculture is the base of growth in our economy, and we have to really focus, in a substantial way, on boosting it,” he added.
The forum featured research paper presentations and a panel discussion on the theme ‘From Elusive to Inclusive Growth’.
It was also used to launch the PIOJ’s 2019 Growth Inducement Programme Research Report, a collection of eight research papers encompassing economic growth-related areas.
These include financial inclusion, tertiary education, labour market developments, and social interventions.