Sun | Sep 23, 2018

Growth & Jobs | JAMPRO looking to boost agriculture sector with investment

Published:Tuesday | March 13, 2018 | 12:00 AM
JAMPRO President Diane Edwards and Claude Duncan, vice-president of sales and promotions at JAMPRO, view products manufactured by JAMPRO clients Marco Polo and Very Amazing Products (VAP) on November 14, 2017, at the Export Max II Closing Ceremony. JAMPRO hopes to promote the manufacturing of more value-added products in the Jamaican agricultural sector through investment.
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The Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) is aiming to increase local and international investment into the Agriculture sector to support Jamaica's economic growth programme and empower local farmers. The agency will launch its initiative with the Agricultural Information Forum to be hosted today, March 13, 2018, at the Terra Nova All Suite hotel in New Kingston.

The event will be used as a platform to highlight agriculture as an important business opportunity in Jamaica and will emphasise the Government's commitment to supporting the growth of the sector. JAMPRO explained that the forum would demonstrate how private sector companies are successfully employing approaches such as contract farming to grow their businesses.

JAMPRO also hopes to address and provide solutions for challenges that are faced by persons in the agricultural sector, including the sourcing of financing for agricultural activities, land availability and suitability issues, the marketing of agriculture products locally and overseas, and accessing government initiatives and programmes to support agriculture such as agro parks.

 

... Changing perspectives on agriculture

 

While JAMPRO has consistently promoted the sector for investment, the agency is better known for its work promoting the export of fresh produce and value-added products from the agricultural sector. The agency has, therefore, renewed its efforts to promote the sector as an opportunity for investment to encourage the diversification of the sector and to boost local production.

JAMPRO President Diane Edwards said that the agency wanted to be an impactful force in agriculture and that she envisioned an industry that not only had increased production, but the development and export of more value-added products.

"Jamaica has some of the best and most sought-after fresh produce in the world, and we are confident in the quality of the produce grown by our local farmers, but we also acknowledge that we need to address issues related to meeting the demand for local produce and the need to modernise the sector," Edwards said.

"With more investment into agriculture, we believe that Jamaica will see more of the economic growth that is necessary for the country to thrive."

Edwards explained that Jamaica's economic growth was highly reliant on agriculture's success and that JAMPRO was aware that local farmers needed more support and partnerships (including contract farming agreements) to increase their production and sustain this growth.

 

Modernise and diversify

 

With regard to the perception of the sector, Edwards added: "Many people do not understand the potential for investment that exists in agriculture and the excellent returns that can be achieved. We are working with our partners in Government to change the image so that people can understand that their next business opportunity can be in agriculture and that there is more to the sector than meets the eye. By changing the perspective and revealing the many opportunities that exist, we believe that the sector can modernise and diversify on a large scale and continue to contribute in a significant way to the Jamaican economy."

The JAMPRO president said that the agency would be working closely with key stakeholders such as the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries and the Agro Investment Corporation to provide insight into project opportunities and available agricultural assets for packaging and investment promotion.