Jamaican producers benefit from globalisation – ACP head
Director of the Agricultural Competitiveness Programme (ACP), Petronia Colley, says globalisation and expanding international trade have made it easier for Jamaican producers to find an opening in emerging markets overseas.
Colley, who was speaking at the two-day training seminar on 'Farm Enterprise Management', at the Hyatt Ziva/Zilara Rose Hall hotel, St James recently, said it is important that producers gain better control over production, trade and distribution in order to fully maximise the opportunities that are available. She also emphasised that it is equally important for producers to guarantee the quality of their products, so as to enhance their credibility in the overseas marketplace.
"The Government has wisely prioritised a market-driven and export-led strategy to foster growth of the agricultural sector," Colley said. "This is consistent with the notion of a strong, long-term relationship between the gross domestic product growth and export performance. However, to fulfil this strategy, it is important that we clear every hurdle that would prevent us from being globally competitive." Colley informed that the Inter-American Development Bank is funding the ACP to enhance competitiveness in the agricultural sector through the implementation of activities aimed at promoting market access by small and medium farmers, and stimulating private-sector investment in the industry.
"The overall aim is to support the development of a modern, efficient, internationally competitive and sustainable agricultural sector, which will open and expand domestic and international market access and opportunities for Jamaican products with a competitive and comparative advantage," Colley explained.
"This will enable us to continue focusing on facilitating the linkage of the primary productive sector with the marketing chain, and with the view of generating value added through market access and export promotion," she added. Colley noted that farmers and exporters of agricultural produce are faced with many challenges, both locally and internationally.
"Through a technical co-operation agreement with the Inter-American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture, we are seeking to train and sensitise agricultural officers on the knowledge and skills in standard business practices, such as proper planning, decision-making, management and having a full appreciation of the requirements for operating a successful agricultural enterprise," she said.
Colley pointed out that there will be training interventions for agricultural technicians who interact directly with farmers in areas such as agro parks. The sessions, she said, will involve lectures, video presentations and case studies.