JAS requests meeting with new Agriculture Minister, Audley Shaw
The Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) has requested an urgent meeting with Audley Shaw, the incoming Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries.
Shaw is taking over the portfolio from Karl Samuda after a Cabinet reshuffle on Monday. He was replaced as Finance Minister by Dr Nigel Clarke.
In a release on Tuesday, JAS president Norman Grant congratulated Shaw on his appointment and signaled that he would be seeking an early meeting with him to discuss a framework of cooperation, partnership, support and transformational activities that can allow the agricultural sector to flourish.
“The JAS believes that the agricultural sector is the lifeblood of the Jamaican economy and one of the pillars upon which sustained economic growth can be achieved while transforming the lives of our farmers and farm families," Grant said.
"Against this background we will want the new minister to lead from the front and ensure that there is a spirit of unity in the sector, and that there is support in the areas of improving the rural and farm road network, reforming laws to address the $6billion farmers are losing as a result of praedial larceny and expediting land and title reform that could unlock access to credit,” he added.
The JAS president noted that the organisation had called on the government last year to make available a revolving line of credit of some $1 billion at four to five per cent interest for farmers, similar to the scheme implemented by the EXIM Bank for medium-sized stakeholders in the tourism sector, as well as dedicating $1 billion in the budget of the ministry to repairing the farm and rural road network.
Grant stated that the JAS would engage the new minister on these matters, noting also that the newly appointed Finance Minister, Dr Nigel Clarke was a member of the delegation from the Economic Growth Council when the JAS Board and the PIOJ met with the IMF.
“The JAS places these issues, among others, on the table to which Dr.Clarke gave support and looks forward to great support to the agricultural sector under his leadership as Finance Minister,” Grant stated.
He also thanked Minister Samuda for his contribution as Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries for the last two years and wished him all the best in his new assignment.