Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Karl Samuda addresses coconut growers in attendance at the Coconut Growers’ Annual General Meeting, held at the Jamaica Conference Centre on Saturday, May 06, 2017.
Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Karl Samuda says that all the Commodity Boards under his portfolio are to be dissolved. These commodity boards will now fall under the ambit of the recently enacted Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Regulatory Authority (JACRA).
This Act seeks to establish a regulatory body that will span the Coconut Industry, the Coffee Industry, the Cocoa Industry and the Spices Industry, and it is hopeful that all the necessary preparations will be in place to allow for the Body to be inaugurated no later than July 01, 2017.
Minister Samuda who was addressing the Coconut Growers Annual General Meeting at the Jamaica Conference Centre, on Saturday, May 6, said that the primary objective of the legislation is not to punish commodity boards, it is not to impose restrictions on commodity boards, and it is not out of suspicions of the activities of commodity boards. It is in keeping with international standards and trends to put into the hands of key stakeholders their own destiny.
“As we are today, we must find a mechanism that is equitable, fair, and transparent and offers protection for you the actual growers of coconut, that is the objective and that has to be. So what was controlled by a board no longer exist”, the Minister explained.
He further explained that where the Boards controlled everything that happens in the industry, JACRA is only there to protect the quality and expansion of the industries. “The quality of everything that is exported, manufactured out of coconut must be of the highest standard, so that when the name, comes from Jamaica and bears our brand it is world class”, the Minister said.
“So, that is why you have to get registered under JACRA so that the inspection and monitoring process for those who are going to be manufacturing and shipping the name Jamaica abroad, comply with what are the required practices. It is not there to determine who you sell to, when you sell, how much you sell, nothing of the kind that has to be determined by you”, he pointed out.
The Minister also assured the growers that legislations that have been put in place for the industry will not be changed ‘willy nilly’, and that the interest of the growers must be protected at all cost. He added that the local coconut industry remains a potentially lucrative one, capable of generating significant export earnings and employment. This he said is despite of the challenges the sector has encountered.
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