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Agriculture Ministry places major focus on tourism sector for use of local produce


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May 2019
 

Acting Principal Director in the Economic Planning and Policy Division of the Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry, Michelle Parkins (second right),listens attentively to the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) Representative to Jamaica, Dr. Elizabeth Johnson (second left), at a workshop to promote tourism linkages with the Jamaican agri-food sector, at the Alhambra Inn in St. Andrew on May 16. Others (from left) are: IICA Agro-Tourism Specialist, Ena Harvey; Executive Director of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), Dr. Carey Wallace, and Director of the Tourism Linkages Network, Carolyn McDonald Riley. The workshop was aimed at examining the linkages between agriculture and tourism.

Above Body

 16 May 2019    communications   

The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries is targeting the tourism sector as a major market for the increased use of local produce.
The sector forms part of the other four markets that are also being targeted by the Ministry and includes: local consumers, the Diaspora, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and a national school-feeding programme.
Acting Principal Director in the Economic Planning and Policy Division of the Ministry, Michelle Parkins, noted that by utilizing local produce in the tourism sector as well as those other markets there will be a reduction in the dependency of imports and, where possible, an expansion of exports.
“The Ministry is committed to seriously applying the strategies and a coordinated deliberate approach to increasing local production,” she said.
“With over four million visitors to our shores annually, our world-renowned tourism industry continues to provide us with a large market for consumption of local produce… It is for that reason that we believe that Jamaican produce and our renowned cuisine must be a part of the menu provided in our hotels and resorts,” Ms. Parkins added.
She was speaking at a workshop to promote tourism linkages with the Jamaican agri-food sector at the Alhambra Inn in St. Andrew on May 16.
The workshop was organized by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), the Tourism Linkages Network out of the Tourism Ministry and the ACP-EU Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA).
Ms. Parkins pointed out that the Ministry through the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) has established the Agri-Linkages Exchange Project, which is aimed at increasing and deepening the linkages that exist between the agricultural sector and the hotel and tourism sector.
“This is currently established through an agriculture fresh produce internet-based market linkages platform and commodities exchange where farmers indicate what produce they will have available within the next three to four months and these are then marketed through the centre to the hotel and tourism sectors,” she said.
The project is funded by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF).
Meanwhile, in his remarks, Executive Director of the TEF, Dr. Carey Wallace, said agricultural practices must be transformed to supply the demands of the tourism industry.
“We have to move away from the quota-style approach, meaning we plant one time of the year, you weed and fertilize then you harvest another time of the year and then you start over. That could work for crops like sugar cane but that approach doesn’t work for tourism. It cannot be that once a year harvest…The agricultural products have to be there every time of the year just like the tourists,” he said.
The workshop was aimed at sensitizing stakeholders on the draft Tourism Linkages Policy and the efforts and achievements of the Tourism Linkages Network to date.
It was also aimed at identifying priorities for the development of project proposals to strengthen agri-tourism linkages in the country, which will be submitted for funding under the Intra-Asia, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) 11th European Development Fund (EDF).
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