Above: Jamaica Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller (left) greeted by General Manager, Jamaica Stock Exchange, Marlene Street-Forrest (JIS Photo)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Jamaica is ramping up its development of agro-parks.
The country is expected to add a ninth agro-park on the island, which is anticipated to be in production in the next three to six months, according to Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller.
“Over 5,000 people are benefiting from direct employment and 2,711 hectares of under-utilized land have been brought into agricultural production [with agro-parks],” Simpson Miller said while addressing the opening of the 10th Jamaica Stock Exchange Conference on Investments and the Capital Markets.
The government is continuing what Simpson Miller said was a pursuit of a “strong supply and linkages chain involving agriculture and sectors such as tourism and manufacturing.”
“Through a Linkages Technical Working Group, we are identifying more creative ways to effectively connect buyers and sellers, while addressing the issues affecting the trade as they arise,” Simpson Miller said.
The nine agro parks are expected to realize foreign exchange savings of around $35 million USD, providing employment for around 5,000 people.
Simpson Miller said the plan is to modernize Jamaica’s agricultural sector, while reducing the country’s $1 billion USD food import bill.