Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA) recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Agro-Investment Corporation (AIC), the agency in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries tasked with the responsibility for agricultural investment promotion and facilitation.
The partnership will seek to foster a framework to boost market linkages, specifically aimed at securing access to a consistent supply of raw agricultural produce for the JMEA membership within subsectors that rely heavily on that input. Furthermore, the collaboration will allow for AIC clients to benefit from opportunities that will help to boost and promote their agricultural production and increase market access in terms of agricultural exports.
Under the MOU the two organisations will work together in the following key areas:
1. Accruing data on quantities of produce grown by farmers on the Agro-Parks that are available for purchase by JMEA's clients.
2. Establishing and executing food safety standards under which the farmers are to operate.
3. Facilitating meetings and signing of market contractual arrangements between manufacturer/exporter and AIC's clients.
4. Partaking in joint activities related to developing the agricultural industry export-centric workshops, marketing initiatives, trade missions, among others.
“This partnership comes at a critical time when our productive sectors are shifting from pandemic survival to recovery,” a news release quotes JMEA Executive Director Simara Howell.
“The agro-processing industry represents the largest cohort of the JMEA membership, and we see this MOU with the AIC as the bridge to facilitate and improve the linkages between the agriculture and the manufacturing sectors. The agro-processing sector has the potential to boost Jamaica's exports to the rest of the world and as such, strategic partnerships like the one being formed here today between the JMEA and AIC will undoubtedly put Jamaica on the right path to higher value-added growth,” Howell added.
Chief executive officer at AIC Michael Pryce, in his comments at the signing, said: “We at Agro-Invest strive to create an entrepreneurial culture with farming as a business. It is our vision at Agro-Invest that this MOU will lead to binding agreements, contractual or otherwise, between the agro-park farmers and the marketplace represented by the JMEA's membership. This collaboration will lead to better planed production, increased efficiency, reduced waste, and increased contribution to the economy at all levels of the value chain. The partnership will open many doors, create access to many international, regional and local markets and will also impact the country's economic development in a sustainable way.”