Hutchinson wants public/private partnership for St Ann agro-economic zone
Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture, and Fisheries J.C. Hutchinson, is calling for a public-private partnership to create an agro-economic zone in St Ann.
Hutchinson says the zone will help to boost the parish’s agricultural productivity and ensure a reliable supply of crops for the local and export markets as well as value-added processing.
“With this agro-economic zone, you find that the farmer produces whatever he wants and there is nothing that is left in the field to spoil. Everything is taken off and, with that, we find that the farmer is making more money,” he outlined.
Hutchinson was speaking at the Noranda Jamaica Bauxite Partners Community Council Agriculture, Education and Industry Expo and Fun Fair on the grounds of the Port Rhodes Sports Club in Discovery Bay, St Ann, on Thursday.
The minister commended Noranda Jamaica for initiating a number of engagements to spur the growth of agriculture in St Ann, where its mining operations are located.
Against this background, he encouraged the firm to give consideration to supporting the agro-economic zone’s establishment, “whereby you will take up everything that the farmers in your area can produce and you carry it straight to the value chain”.
Meanwhile, Hutchinson welcomed the level of engagement and collaboration between Noranda Jamaica and farmers in the company’s operating areas, which he said are contributing to the country’s social and economic development.
“Noranda has developed a close and mutually beneficial relationship with the thousands of farmers that make up its host of communities. I welcome and congratulate Noranda for its various initiatives, [to] include the land reclamation programme that restores land after mining,” he stated.
The inaugural expo, which was held under the theme: ‘Agriculture Meets Mining’, displayed the bauxite industry’s mining, agriculture, land reclamation, greenhouse farming, land titling, safety, and environment control models, and social and economic contributions.