Addressing journalists at the end of the 46th annual meeting of the CDB’s Board of Governors, at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, Rose Hall, St. James, on May 19, Dr. Smith noted that recent studies have shown that a restructured and modernized agricultural sector can be a driver of economic growth in many Caribbean countries.
“Agriculture is the main employer in many Caribbean countries, accounting for approximately 16 per cent of overall employment in the region,” Dr. Smith said.
The President pointed out that with the appropriate reorientation and investment, the sector can increase employment, earn foreign exchange through export expansion, and save foreign exchange by strengthening linkages between the domestic agricultural supply chains and dynamic sectors, such as tourism and manufacturing.
He emphasized that for the sector to be transformed there must be access to affordable, irrigable water, preferably pumped by renewable energy. “Its enabling infrastructure will include sustainably engineered feeder roads, appropriate packing and storage facilities, and access to credit,” he added.
This transformation, the President said, will also see the adoption of modern technology to improve productivity.
“This new agriculture, if holistically transformed and integrated into the dynamic growth sectors, can be a component of a more diversified and resilient domestic economy,” Dr. Smith argued.
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