Vice President of Marketing at JAMPRO, Gabriel Heron.
Vice President of Marketing at Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) Gabriel Heron, says increased investments, coupled with greater use of technology such as greenhouses and hydroponics, can result in major transformation of the agriculture sector.
He made the remarks on Thursday (February 3) while addressing a virtual webinar focusing on ‘Technology-Driven Agriculture Business: Boosting Production, Driving Export Sales’.
“There is the potential to generate 10 to 15 times more yield acreage, and of course, with the additional benefit of limiting the debilitating impact of praedial larceny, which we know all too well,” he said.
Mr. Heron noted that with a coordinated drive from both private and public sectors, the potential of agriculture in Jamaica can be realised. “There is a need for large agriculture projects that will provide economies of scale as well as consistency in production and quality, factors that are critical for sustained agricultural growth,” he said.
Some of the technology-driven investments he cited are the proposed 450-acre organic greenhouse project in St. Elizabeth, and the 400-acre agricultural project in Lakes Pen, St Catherine.
“The Caribbean needs these ventures right now as we try to push within the global space to ensure that we are competitive,” he said.
He shared that the vision is to have a substantial number of transformative agriculture-technology projects rolled out across properly resourced agro parks in the country.
“This is coupled with relevant training and community sensitisation initiatives which are critical, whereby small farmers are incorporated into the network of mother farms. This will have significant social and economic impact and, of course, returns for investors,” he said.
He noted that Jamaica has always had the potential to become the breadbasket of the Caribbean while also supplying the demand for fresh produce and agro processed goods in North America.
“Investments, the application of technology in agriculture, will go a far way in realising our potential. The Government is committed to advancing strategic initiatives such as the Product Input Relief, which includes incentives for the importation of equipment that can be used in greenhouse farming,” he said.
The webinar, organised by JAMPRO, focused on Jamaica’s strides to strengthen technology-driven agribusiness, with the aim of boosting production and driving increased export sales.
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