Thursday 28 May, 2020

COVID-19: Agriculture sector to play key role in country’s recovery

President of the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), Diane Edwards​.

President of the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), Diane Edwards​.

President of the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), Diane Edwards, says Jamaica’s agriculture sector will be key to the country’s recovery from the coronavirus (COVID 19) pandemic.

Edwards said that the large acreages of land currently under production, as well as the linkages with other sectors, present a number of opportunities for Jamaican entrepreneurs to exploit.

Speaking in a JIS interview Edwards noted that increasing production to supply the demand for Jamaican produce would position the country to recover quickly.

“We have supply lines, we have markets that have already been identified and, in fact, in most of the overseas markets we have seen that we are not producing enough to fulfil them,” Edwards said.

“So I think in the short-term there are some extraordinary measures that we are going to have to take, but if we take them, I think we can see agribusiness return to a pretty robust and even expanded level of production,” she added.

. Edwards also cited business process outsourcing (BPO) as an essential industry and which should be designated as such, “so we can continue to service our overseas clients”.

“Some of those clients, such as Amazon, are continuing to thrive in this situation. You will probably have read that Amazon is hiring a 100,000 people to cope with the demand for its products,” she noted.

“So, at this time, there are certain industries that are going to continue to grow and to thrive and to be sustainable, and we have to focus on those industries, as well as try to beef up the industries that are going to suffer in the medium-term, such as tourism and the creative industries,” she said.

JAMPRO, which is the Government’s principal investment and export promotion agency, was created from the amalgamation of three entities – Jamaica National Investment Promotion, Jamaica National Export Promotion and Jamaica Industrial Development Foundation.

It is tasked with stimulating economic development by promoting local and foreign investment in critical sectors, while sourcing new markets and increasing the export of goods and services from Jamaica.

 

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