Tue | Apr 7, 2020

Growth & Jobs | $336m allocated for improved competitiveness in agri sector

Published:Tuesday | February 25, 2020 | 12:19 AM

The Government’s efforts to improve competitiveness in the agricultural ­sector will be boosted with an ­injection of $336 million in the upcoming fiscal year.

The money has been provided under the Agricultural Competitiveness Programme Bridging Project, as outlined in the 2020-21 Estimates of Expenditure.

For the new fiscal year, under the project, renovation/construction of the packing facility at the Spring Garden Agro Park is to be completed; the establishment of a nursery for mangoes is to be continued at the Bodles Research Station; a 400-acre mango orchard is to be established; and an irrigation system is to be installed at the mango orchard site.

In addition, staff of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries (MICAF) are to be trained in leadership and management as part of the capacity-building aspect of the project.

Up to December 2019 under the ­project, irrigation system was commissioned into service at Spring Garden Agro Park; construction of a greenhouse and office facility was started at the Top Mountain Research Station; and MICAF staff ­capacity building was undertaken, which saw them participating in change management training, project management and employee engagement seminars.

The project, which is slated to run from December 2017 to November 2020, seeks to place Jamaica in a competitive position that will provide solutions to the structural challenges that are confronted by the local agricultural sector, while at the same time providing an opportunity and laying a solid foundation to fully exploit the market potential which exists for Jamaican fresh produce, locally and internationally.