Karl Samuda (second left), examines peppers being shown by Newport-Fersan Limited’s Business Development Manager, Hedda Rose-Pitter (left), at the Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show in May Pen, Clarendon. Looking on, from second right, are Newport-Fersan’s Managing Director, Dennis Valdez; and Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) President, Norman Grant. (Photo: JIS)
KINGSTON, Jamaica – Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Karl Samuda says the agricultural sector will grow the economy.
“This is the ministry that is going to increase the level of growth in the country,” said Samuda while addressing patrons at the 64th staging of the Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show in Clarendon yesterday.
Samuda told patrons that domestic crop production grew by over 13 per cent in the April to June quarter of 2016 and continued growth is expected through out the year.
He said the government’s target of 5 per cent growth per annum in the next four years is modest as the agricultural sector alone is projected to contribute 2 of the 5 per cent increase projected.
The agriculture minister pledged to dramatically improve infrastructure in the sector through the provision of irrigation systems, a rotating equipment pool and upgraded farm roads.
Samuda encouraged persons in the sector to change how they do business by producing more value added goods and using more technology.
“We have to become technology savvy and we have to introduce it in all elements of agriculture. That’s the only way we are going to be on the cutting edge of competition. Other countries are doing it and we cannot hope to compete internationally if we continue with the old ways of doing things,” Minister Samuda said.
He also commended the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), farmers and other exhibitors for their efforts to make this year’s staging of Denbigh a success.
“This is indeed the most impressive collection of people gathered together with one common purpose, to exhibit the results of their efforts and to demonstrate that Jamaica is on the move and ready to tackle the world with the products that we produce,” said Samuda.