March 02, 2017

Growth in agriculture contributed to US$6-m reduction in food import bill

Principal Director in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Shaun Baugh (left), presents trophy to the Champion Cattle farmer at the 2017 Hague Agricultural and Livestock show, Carlton Smith.

Published in The Jamaica Observer

ST JAMES, Jamaica (JIS) – Growth of 17 per cent in the agricultural sector in 2016 resulted in a reduction of US$6 million in the country’s food-import bill up to October, says Principal Director in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Shaun Baugh.

He pointed out that the positive performance of the sector is also ensuring that the nation’s food-security needs are met.

Addressing the opening of the annual Hague Agricultural and Livestock show at the Hague grounds in Falmouth, Trelawny, yesterday, Baugh said that while the stakeholders have all right to celebrate the gains that have been achieved in the sector, there is still a lot of room for improvement, especially in the area of providing irrigated water for farmers.

“Without water, farming cannot survive, and we are committed to ensuring that there is continued improvement in the area of irrigation. To that effect, we should see, by the end of the next fiscal year, several irrigation projects coming on stream that will provide added relief for our farmers,” he said.

Baugh argued that with the effects of climate change having a direct impact on agriculture, the need for an effective and consistent supply of water to the sector is an important element for continued growth.

Commending the organisers of the show and the various groups, individuals and companies that had displays, Baugh said this resulted from serious partnerships among all stakeholders.

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