Domestic crop production on course for record growth — Charles Jr
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Pearnel Charles Jr. (second from left), addresses the Invest Jamaica 2022 Business Conference at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St James on November 30. Looking on (from left) are Managing Director of Jamaica Flour Mills, Derrick Nembhard; Operating Partner of Pegasus Capital Advisors, Michael Charske and Vice President of Jamaica Broilers Limited (Hi-Pro Division), Jaimie Ogilvie. (Photo: JIS)

ST JAMES, Jamaica — The agriculture sector is on target to meet or surpass last year’s historic high domestic crop production figures.

Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Pearnel Charles Jr, made the disclosure while addressing a panel discussion on agribusiness during the Invest Jamaica 2022 Business Conference held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St James on November 30.

Domestic crop output was recorded at 770,456 tonnes in 2021, representing a 10.4 per cent growth over the 697,679 tonnes produced in 2020. Domestic production was 689,080 tonnes in 2019.

“So, it means that we are doing some things right and we're moving in the right direction,” the Minister said.

“Jamaica has established that we are growing agriculture and… we are moving into 2023 to grow even further,” he added.

He said that now is a good time to invest in the country’s agriculture sector and is urging members of the Jamaican Diaspora who have land in the country to put them into production.

“We have looked at the numbers, the policies and the legislative changes, and we can present to investors a clear picture that now is the best time for you to invest. If you are Diasporan and you have land in Jamaica, then now is the time… to make that investment,” Charles Jr said.

He noted that the Government has invested in the development of agriculture, with $1 billion allocated to an incentive programme to support farmers as well as funding to create infrastructure for irrigation, conduct soil fertility mapping, improve genetic breeding for small ruminants, among other things.

The conference was hosted by the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank and aimed to position Jamaica as the next global investment destination of choice.

More than 600 registrants, representing over 50 countries, attended the two-day event, which included discussions on agribusiness, special economic zones, Jamaica’s financial ecosystem and more.

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