Growth & Jobs | Shaw leads mission to promote agri industry
Audley Shaw, minister of industry, commerce, agriculture and fisheries, recently led a five-day mission in London to promote Jamaica's agricultural sector for investment and export of Jamaica's fresh produce and food-based products.
The mission commenced on December 4 with attendance at the agricultural investment forum Global AgInvesting Europe. The investment forum is the world's premier agriculture investment conference series, attracting hundreds of attendees working in the agricultural value chain, including global agricultural investors, agricultural technology entrepreneurs, fund managers, venture capitalists and researchers. JAMPRO president Diane Edwards was also in attendance.
Shaw also met with players in the agricultural industry and buyers in London, and spoke at JAMPRO's investors' dinner on December 5, and buyers' luncheon on December 6.
The United Kingdom continues to be a key area for expansion in export sales as the market falls within Jamaica's top three markets for export each year. There is steady growth in interest from UK buyers for Jamaican brands and private labelling and from investors seeking opportunities for partnership on feasible agricultural projects.
JOURNEY OF TRANSFORMATION
In response to these developments, Shaw said that Jamaica is on a journey of transformation that will take the agricultural industry to the next level. He said: "Over the last five years, we have embarked on an aggressive programme to transform Jamaica's agricultural landscape. This includes the buildout of large agro-industrial parks to create a logistics supply chain which will optimise production, sorting, packing and export of agro-processed products. These agro-parks, we want [them] to become central hubs to supply the region." The minister noted that with these developments, the country is open for business and ready for investment and trade interests in the United Kingdom.
Edwards echoed the minister's sentiments, and said that JAMPRO believes that the UK needs a different approach to increase the flow of the island's products to that region and attract more investments to Jamaica. The JAMPRO president explained, "Traditionally, Jamaica has been known as an exporter of fresh produce to the UK market, but what we have seen is that there is a growing interest in not only buying more Jamaican value-added products, but investing in our agricultural industry."
She went on to say, "To ensure that we do not lose these opportunities, we have embarked on a more aggressive, holistic approach that aims to position our agricultural industry as one
with buying and investment opportunities, as well as excellent and unique value-added products. With Shaw's support on this mission and future initiatives, we believe that we will be able to refresh the image of Jamaica's agricultural industry and get those significant projects that will boost the sector and support our economic growth goals."