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Hutchinson Emphasises Importance of Agro-Economic Zones

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, J.C. Hutchinson Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, J.C. Hutchinson
Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson, says the agro-economic zones being created by the Government will enable small farmers to access modern processing facilities.

According to the Minister, nothing that the farmers produce should go to waste, and every effort will be made to assist with the efficient production and marketing of their produce.

“All produce should be graded for use either as Grade A fresh produce for the high-end market and export,  or the lower grades to be used for  the processing of juices, jams and jellies and the trash as fertilisers,” Mr. Hutchinson pointed out.

The Minister, who was speaking at the opening of a two-day training seminar on ‘Farm Enterprise Management’, at the Hyatt Ziva/Zilara Rose Hall Hotel, Montego Bay, on August 29, said if Jamaica is to truly realise its dream of a modern and efficient agricultural sector, the agro-economic zones in strategic locations across the country must be the way of the future.

He noted that in addition to the provision of adequate modern infrastructure, sound business management practices must also be a part of the mix of critical factors required to make the agricultural sector more competitive.

“We have to train our farmers and technicians and strengthen their capacity to utilise best practices in their operations, in order to be in line with international standards,” Mr. Hutchinson said.

“Jamaica’s farmers, the vast majority of whom are small farmers, have been enterprising and resilient throughout the years and we have to salute them for all they have achieved and continue to achieve in feeding this nation and contributing to GDP,” he added.

Mr. Hutchinson argued that agriculture has an important role to play in moving the country forward, and the time has come to apply modern technology and modern systems to manage agricultural enterprises and move them to the top of the class as wealth-creation businesses.

“This is the 21st Century, this is the information age and the era of modern communication. We are not about to be left behind, considering the important role we have to play in feeding the nation. Once we get agriculture right, then we are well on our way to growth and prosperity,” the Minister said.

He pointed out that the seminar comes at a strategically important time as the country seeks to increase production and productivity and place the agricultural sector on a sustainable path.

“Training of our farmers and our technical personnel is fundamental to the future success of the industry. Sound planning and management are key factors to the success of all businesses,” the Minister said.

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