Agriculture Minister Audley Shaw has said the Government is not abandoning sugar, but instead is right-sizing and rationalizing the industry. Noting the downturn in the sugar industry, Minister Shaw said the focus is now on appropriating former sugar lands to other areas of agricultural production starting in Clarendon, St. Catherine and Trelawny. He stated that SCJ Holdings has hundreds of applications for thousands of acres of former sugar lands across the country, slated to be leased to farmers.
Mr. Shaw, who was speaking yesterday (June 6) at the launch of the Jamaica Agricultural Society’s 67th anniversary of its agricultural, industrial and food show in White Marl, St. Catherine, also outlined several measures being taken to rebuild the agricultural sector. In encouraging dairy farmers to increase their production, the Agriculture Minister said the ministry would be granting permission for the import of dairy cows in order to facilitate the rebuilding of the industry.
Other initiatives include seeking a $100 million US grant from the Chinese government to build out the infrastructure in the Blue Mountains for the expansion of coffee production, as well as initiating discussions with green climate fund for funding towards the development of small, portable drip irrigation systems for use by small farmers.
Mr. Shaw also reiterated Government’s commitment to work with the Jamaica Agricultural Society as it transitions to a non-governmental organisation.
Denbigh 2019 will be held from Sunday August 4 to Tuesday August 6, at the Denbigh showground in Clarendon under the theme ‘Grow what we eat…eat what we grow: Aligning farming decisions with climatic conditions’.