JAS Stages Conference to Move Agriculture Forward
KINGSTON, Jamaica… August 20, 2014

More than 20 local and international organizations are expected to participate in the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) inaugural National Agricultural Production and Food Security Summit, scheduled for Thursday, January 22 at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston

The Summit is an initiative of the JAS, with support from the Ministry of Agriculture, Labour and Social Security. The first of its kind to be held in Jamaica, it will bring together stakeholders within the agricultural sector, who will seek to develop strategies and make recommendations on how to increase domestic agricultural production.

Speaking with JIS News, President of the JAS, Senator Norman Grant, said the expectation is that the strategies and recommendations will help to increase agricultural domestic production by an average of 10 per cent per annum over the next five years.

“The aim of the JAS is to move domestic production from the 615,000 metric tonnes, which was achieved in 2013, to one million metric tonnes by 2019,” he said.

“At the Summit we hope to identify finance strategies that will lead to at least $1 billion accessible funding for the agricultural sector, and address constraints to the growth of the sector by making recommendations for strengthening the support to farmers in areas such as production, marketing, ICT, research and development and praedial larceny,” Senator Grant added.

The Summit will take the form of break out sessions and panel discussions, which will feature expert presentations on domestic crop production, traditional crop production, livestock and fisheries, neutraceuticals and forestry and emerging opportunities within the sector.

The authorities say the absence of the usual May-June rain has exacerbated the drought.

State Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture, Labour and Social Security, Hon. Luther Buchanan will give the keynote address and officially open the summit.

Participants will include the JAS Board Members, representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA); Mona School of Business, National Irrigation Commission, Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), Caribbean Broilers, Jamaica Broilers, College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE), Senior Extension Officers of the 4-H Clubs, HEART Trust /NTA, representatives from the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the Inter-American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture (IICA), farm managers, farmers and commodity associations