Thu | Aug 17, 2017

'If bureaucracy is not removed blame me,' says Samuda

Published:Friday | March 31, 2017 | 3:22 PMNeville Graham

Industry Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Karl Samuda says he is prepared to take the blame for any bureaucratic impediments in the drive for exports and industry growth.

He says the Ministry is in the unique position of having responsibility for complementary sectors.  

"The beautiful thing about my Ministry is that for the first time we have everything under one roof. If bureaucracy is not removed blame me," Samuda said as he addressed a forum on trade and investment organised by the American Chamber of Commerce in Jamaica at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston last Friday.

The Minister said he has asked those at his Ministry as well as sectoral leaders to change their approach regarding production and export. He says Jamaica must no longer be satisfied with being primary producers or satisfying the domestic market but must be relentless in finding new outlets.

“When we satisfy the domestic market and we save valuable foreign exchange we must not be satisfied with just that or pause and go to something else. We must expand on the expertise that we have acquired and go in search of markets overseas and we must not limit ourselves to just some markets,” he said.

In pointing to the untapped export potential of the European market, Samuda said, "we are failing to take advantage of the opportunities." 

“The European market is ripe for acceptance of any amount of ... vegetables or orchard crops that Jamaica can produce,” Samuda said, adding that his Ministry was prepared to facilitate the approaches to those markets.

He said that now that Jamaica had matured to the point of self-sufficiency in eggs, chicken meat and pork, in addition to making headway in potato production, it was time to move up the value chain by converting some of the primary products using agro-industrial processes.

He said that would be good for Jamaica since sectors within the Ministry account for 40 per cent of the Jamaican labour force, who accounts for 20 per cent of gross domestic product.

- neville,graham@gleanerjm.com