Sat | May 28, 2022

Charles to focus on R&D, new technologies to grow agri sector

Published:Tuesday | January 18, 2022 | 12:09 AM
Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Pearnel Charles Jr (centre) in discussion with special projects  coordinator Yolanda Gibson (left), and Courtney Cole,  chief technical director – special projects, at the ministry’s Hope Gardens offices in St Andrew.
Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Pearnel Charles Jr (centre) in discussion with special projects coordinator Yolanda Gibson (left), and Courtney Cole, chief technical director – special projects, at the ministry’s Hope Gardens offices in St Andrew.

Newly minted Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Pearnel Charles Jr has given a commitment to enhance research and development in the agricultural sector as he positions it as a major contributor to economic growth.

“This ministry will be instrumental to Jamaica achieving sustainable growth, and will drive the country’s economic recovery from this devastating pandemic,” Charles said as he expressed his commitment to rebuild, strengthen and expand the agricultural sector.

Charles, who was the minister of housing, urban renewal, environment and climate change prior to the Cabinet reshuffle announced by the prime minister at the start of the new year, said he will be placing emphasis on boosting production within the agricultural sector, to ensure that the local demand for food is satisfied and there is excess yield for export and the creation of value-added products for the international market.

Additionally, he said special emphasis will be placed on rekindling relationships with international partners, like Japan, with a view to expand opportunities for the introduction of innovation into the agricultural sector.

As for the scourge of praedial larceny and its devastating impact on agriculture, the new portfolio minister promised to implement new combative strategies.

While acknowledging the enormity of the task, Charles said: “I am adequately prepared to use all of my experience, knowledge and skill sets to the benefit of my ministry.”

He also met with heads of agencies and senior managers within the agriculture and fisheries ministry virtually on January 13, where he expressed confidence in the team.

The junior agriculture minister, Franklyn Witter, said he is also ready to work on bolstering the agricultural sector to ensure that there is food security.