Sat | May 25, 2019

Shaw calls for diversification in agro-processing, ease of doing business

Published:Saturday | November 17, 2018 | 12:00 AMTamara Bailey/Gleaner Writer

MANDEVILLE, Manchester:

Acknowledging the increase in the number of innovative businesses, particularly by young people who are creating products from Jamaican raw material, Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Audley Shaw is calling for a further expansion in this area of the industry.

"The agro-industrial sector needs to be developed more aggressively. It can't just be what we grow fresh and can't sell. We have a glut and we must have an environment where we never have a glut because you would have a productive opportunity in agro-processing."

Shaw said the AMC complex on Spanish Town Road is now being targeted to become a modern agro-processing centre, where square footage will be leased to individuals who are seeking factory space.

"We in Jamaica are too blessed with a range of natural resources. We can plant 12 months of the year. We must stop importing the rice and the flour, and all those things with little to no nutritional value," he stated

Shaw, who was speaking at the ELEVATE Small Business Marketing event by 20Twenty Strategies consulting at the Mandeville Hotel on Wednesday, revealed that in addition to the Junior Stock Exchange, a micro stock exchange is being looked at for smaller businesses looking to public ownership and financing at an even cheaper route.

He added, however, that if people are to access the offerings of the Government as regards financial inclusion, they are expected to get formal, become transparent and pay taxes.

Meanwhile, Shaw made a call for business to be done with much more ease.

"In recent times, the Government has been able to champion reform and have reduced the time it takes to register a business at the Companies Office of Jamaica. In fact, we are listed as number six in the world for the ease of registering a business. We have to concentrate now on getting that ranking in the ease of doing business."