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Jamaica’s food security remains a key government priority – Caribbean News Global

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By Garwin Davis

KINGSTON, Jamaica, (JIS) – The government has been instituting the necessary measures to ensure food security remains a top priority, says minister of agriculture, fisheries and mining, Floyd Green, addressing local farmers and other stakeholders during a recent Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) agricultural show in Santa Cruz, St Elizabeth, said it is against this backdrop that significant financing has been committed to increase Irish potato production and assist onion farmers.

Minister Green said this forms part of the government’s strategic efforts to improve domestic crop yields.

“These crops have long been a priority for the government and the ministry of agriculture due to their significant contributions to the livelihoods of over 70,000 farmers and the creation of direct or indirect employment opportunities for more than 350,000 Jamaicans,” the minister noted.

Minister Green reaffirmed St Elizabeth’s status as Jamaica’s “food basket parish”, pointing out that a substantial portion of the allocated funds, totalling $91 million, will be earmarked for improving farm roads in the region.

“Nine specific areas in St Elizabeth have been identified for targeted development to facilitate better transportation and access for farmers, thereby enhancing agricultural productivity and efficiency in the region. Despite facing challenges, such as drought and other adversities, our farmers must be commended for the resilience they have shown, resulting in a positive resurgence in onion production,” the minister added.

Meanwhile, minister Green is optimistic about the state of the local sector, noting that “agriculture is alive and well,” and highlighted the government’s undertaking to provide significant incentives for young people to engage in agriculture, in recognition of the vital role of the youth in securing the sector’s future.

Minister Green reiterated the government’s commitment to the agricultural sector, emphasising that the administration is fully invested in supporting and promoting agriculture as a key pillar of Jamaica’s economy. The substantial financial investments in Irish potato and onion production underscore the Government’s proactive approach to enhancing food security, boosting agricultural productivity and supporting the livelihoods of Jamaica’s farmers.

The announcement signals a strategic shift towards prioritising specific crops to ensure food security and sustainability in Jamaica. Additionally, it reflects a comprehensive approach to addressing the challenges experienced by farmers while creating opportunities for growth and development within the sector.

Minister Green said with a clear focus on supporting farmers, enhancing crop yields and promoting agricultural sustainability, the government’s initiatives are poised to make a positive impact on the livelihoods of farmers and Jamaica’s overall agricultural landscape.

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