Thu | Sep 20, 2018

UK gov't to pump £55m into local agricultural sector

Published:Tuesday | July 24, 2018 | 12:00 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer

Jamaica's agricultural sector will in short order receive a £55-million (J$9.4-billion) boost by way of development assistance from the United Kingdom (UK).

During an interview with The Gleaner recently, UK's high commissioner to Jamaica, Asif Ahmad, explained that plans are afoot to create a sustainable irrigation system for local agriculture.

"This year, the United Kingdom government will release £55 million of development assistance. The root of it is making sure parts of the country that have difficulty with water, either too much or too little, get sustainable water supply. We are broadening this project to make the entire system [work] - from water, to the fields, to the type of crops grown, how it is processed - and that it gets to the markets in a good state," Ahmad stated, adding that local agriculture needed a "turbo charge".

The UK high commissioner added: "In Thailand, where I served as ambassador, you can get things into UK supermarkets within 48 hours, from the farm, then packaged and ready [for distribution]. Flowers, fruits and vegetables are things that there is a huge market for, but you need a system. What our investment will do, along with the Jamaican Government, is to turbo-charge the agricultural sector to diversify and help it become more globally connected."

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com