The Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) says it remains committed to enabling agro-businesses in Jamaica to effectively engage in international markets.
Deputy chief executive officer at the JBDC, Harold Davis, said that agriculture plays a vital role in the Jamaican economy.
Referencing the Ukraine and Russian war that has caused a major disruption in shipping, Davis said that “it is important for us, now more than ever, to look at our approach to agriculture and agro-businesses. The imperative has now been heightened for us as Jamaicans to approach the export market with new lenses”.
He was speaking at the JBDC Business Dialogue Forum on Monday.
He added that agriculture and agro-business for Jamaica represent a significant export potential.
Chief Executive Officer at the JBDC Valerie Veira, shared that even though the company has responsibility for Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) in general, greater focus is being placed on the agro-industry for this fiscal year.
“This year, we have a specific focus to do more work with businesses in the agro sector. It has become more crucial for us to focus our attention here based on the changes that have taken place in the economy. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to pivot with a purpose to ensure that we identify opportunities for development in the value chain,” said Veira.
She said that technology, too, plays a crucial role in advancing the sector.
She explained that “41 per cent of the lands in Jamaica are suited for agriculture. However, it is by tying innovation to technology that the agricultural landscape will expand even more, and we want to look at all those possibilities”.
“Our main responsibility is for the development of the MSME sector, and we want to identify those niches in this large industry for our clients to make their marks. We want to identify along the value chain, those opportunities for development,” she continued.
Coordinator of MSMEs Development at the Caribbean Development Bank, Lisa Harding, underscored the importance of the role that agriculture plays, especially for those living in rural areas.
“Agriculture contributes significantly to economic growth. The sector provides employment for many as well as it promotes diversification and favourably impacts import substitution,” she added.
– JIS News