Gov't to stage productivity revolution — KellierSaturday, April 06, 2013
BY TANESHA MUNDLE Observer staff reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
POINTING to the country's productivity level, which he said has been declining for the past 35 years, Minister of Labour and Social Security Derrick Kellier signalled at Wednesday's launch of Farmers' Month that things are about to change.
"Jamaica needs to develop a culture of productivity and we are on a mission to build a productivity culture in Jamaica that will influence the growth and development of productivity-driven organisations and individuals in both the public and private sectors," Kellier said.
The minister said a major campaign involving the Jamaica Business Development Centre will be unveiled in June — billed as productivity month -- and that it will impact both small and large enterprises.
Increased productivity, the minister said, will place the country in a better position to compete globally in terms of pricing, quality and responsiveness, which will lead to greater demands for goods and services.
"Productivity must become everybody's business and we are starting a productivity revolution," he said.
"Our emphasis on productivity growth as a priority strategy is far from being simplistic and we have to retool and introduce new levels of technology into our business," he added.
Addressing the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) event, Kellier said the ministry will be collaborating with the farmers' group on the Steps to Work Programme, which is geared towards equipping beneficiaries of the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) with the necessary skills and training in preparation for jobs as well as business development opportunities.
Under the programme, which will be administered by the JAS at a cost of just over $14m over a five-year period, 3,250 participants will be trained in good agricultural practices, particularly in crop and livestock production.
In addition, farmers will be trained in accounting and 1,500 participants will benefit from the distribution of 3,000 Duroc Weaners under the pig project component of the programme.
Kellier said the objective is to promote economic self-sufficiency among poor households, including those who benefit from welfare.
A memorandum of understanding to that effect was signed between the ministry and the JAS at Wednesday's launch.
Senator Norman Grant thanked the ministry for having the confidence to collaborate with the JAS and entrust it with the funds to undertake the programme, which he said will increase the nation's farming capacity and ultimately help to reduce the $1-b import food bill.
"We believe that this initiative is timely as we continue to urge the nation to 'Grow What We Eat and Eat What We Grow', in an effort to stimulate productivity," Grant said.
Meanwhile, the minister commended the country's farmers for continued efforts to feed the nation and for their contribution to the agriculture sector. He, however, urged them to contribute to the National Insurance Scheme so that they can benefit when they are no longer able to work.
He also encouraged more young people to get involved in farming.
The JAS president, too, saluted the farmers for their contribution to the sector, especially for achieving a three per cent growth in domestic produce for the 2011-2012 period.
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