Over the weekend, an editorial in the Jamaica Gleaner applauded the revival of Jamaican agriculture sector, and expressed the hope that the improvement will be sustained.
Two bits of news suggest that agriculture is emerging as a star performer in an otherwise sluggish economy.
According to data from the Sugar Association of the Caribbean (SAC), Jamaica’s sugar exports totalled 25,897 metric tonnes at the end of February, which is more than half the 40,000 metric tonnes exported by SAC member territories combined.
SAC Chairman Karl James reported that this year Jamaica made its first sugar quota export to the United States since 2007 and has been awarded an additional 954 tonnes of export by the United States.
Recent news out of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries indicate that importation of agricultural goods declined last year. Between January and November 2009, the bill for agricultural imports was US$783 million, compared with US$854 million for the corresponding period in 2008.
The experts are saying that this turnaround can be attributed to Jamaicans buying into the campaign to eat more of what we grow and grow more of what we eat.
Even though policymakers rarely pick agriculture as one of the sector winners for economic growth, there is no denying that in a country like ours a vibrant agricultural sector will contribute to a reduction of poverty and enhance life for many, especially hard-working rural folk.
Read the full article at the Gleaner website.
Also in Jamaica, at a recent agricultural show the Governor-General highlighted the importance of agricultural production and the need to further develop the sector.
The Governor-General noted that there is a definite need to expand existing markets and create new ones, in order for the agricultural sector to maximise the benefits it can achieve. He also emphasised that it is critically important for Jamaicans to support the ‘grow what we eat and eat what we grow’ campaign currently being promoted by the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS).
He argued that this support would enable the country to achieve food security and rid it of the dependence on foreign foods.