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Shaw pledges support for farmers, manufacturers

Thursday, July 12, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Audley Shaw is pledging more support for farmers and local manufacturers in the expansion of their production and identification of new markets for their products.

Shaw was addressing farmers at the 123rd Annual General Meeting of the Jamaica Agricultural Society, held at the Denbigh Showground in Clarendon on July 11.

According to a release from his ministry, Shaw outlined several initiatives to be implemented by Government to assist farmers, which includes the provision of more lands, improved inputs such as seedlings, livestock and fertilizer, and focus on improved agronomic practices and animal husbandry.

“Get ready, get serious,” Shaw said as he urged small farmers to develop a business plan in order to access available Government lands for lease, even as he encouraged them to develop a working relationship with larger farmers who will be able to assist them with modern technology and financing.

Noting the challenges that farmers were experiencing in marketing their products, Shaw identified the need to “start thinking outside of the box” and to become more creative in the marketing of agricultural products.

He proposed, for example, that wines made from local produce could be better marketed as cooking wines, rather than traditional table wines.

Shaw reiterated that negotiations were taking place with the Tourism Linkages Council to create more permanent linkages between agriculture and the manufacturing industry with the hotel sector.

The minister commended the Sandals hotel chain for setting an example in this regard; making reference to the arrangements they have in place with farming groups to purchase local produce and urged other hotels to develop similar partnerships.

He also mentioned the need to increase exports to the duty-free Caricom market.

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