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Jamaican government looking to develop high-tech agriculture
He made the remarks as he addressed Executives from the World Bank, as well as farmers and other stakeholders at the Schwallenburgh Greenhouse Cluster and Water Harvesting Project in Rio Hoe, St. Ann on September 15.
Minister of Finance and the Public Sector, Hon. Audley Shaw (third left), shared a tomato with Member of Parliament for South East St. Ann, Lisa Hanna (second left) at the Schwallenburgh Greenhouse Cluster and Water Harvesting Project in Rio Hoe, St. Ann on September 15. Observing from left are: State Minister in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Fayval Williams and Executive Director of the Jamaica Bauxite Institute, Parris A. Lyew-Ayee. Photo: Garwin Davis
Minister Shaw noted that he was impressed with the quality of the produce that have been coming out of the greenhouses, noting that the agriculture sector has the ability to boost the economic fortunes of the country.
He encouraged the farmers in St. Ann to capitalize on the opportunities that are now available to them through the various linkages.
“We are looking at 50,000 square feet of agricultural production in controlled scientific conditions that are guaranteed to increase your productivity levels. As long as there is not a hurricane…as long as it is just ordinary rain…then there is no problem,” Mr. Shaw said.
He also expressed appreciation to the World Bank for funding the Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI), under which the Schwallenburgh Greenhouse Cluster and Water Harvesting Project falls.
“I am very pleased that the World Bank has taken on with such zeal projects like these, which are not just about lending us some money for budget support, but coming into our rural communities to work with our farmers, to create wealth,” Mr. Shaw said.
The Finance Minister noted that he would be having further discussions with the World Bank, to encourage the institution to engage in other projects in rural Jamaica.
For her part, World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean, Tahseen Sayed Khan informed that the Rural Economic Development Initiative was funded to the tune of US$15 million.
“It is very important to bring a feeling of both community and ownership to these people. They need the right technical advice and also an injection of capital to move forward. I am just proud that the World Bank could have been a part of this project and we look forward to supporting similar kinds of projects in rural Jamaica,” Ms. Khan said.
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