Jamaica’s Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Karl Samuda, is urging sugar producers to seek new markets within CARICOM as a response to changes in the United Kingdom (UK) due to Britain’s exit from the European Union (BREXIT).
The upcoming removal of subsidies to UK farmers, as well as the European Union facilitating the expansion of beet sugar production, will remove Caribbean cane farmers’ competitiveness to trade in the country and region.
Noting that the CARICOM market can serve as a lucrative substitute, Samuda encouraged farmers to be creative in utilising the benefits of trading with CARICOM member states.
The minister was giving the keynote address at AMCHAM Jamaica’s Breakfast Forum, held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, on Friday, under the theme ‘Trade and Investment: Prospects for 2017 and Beyond’.
Meanwhile, Samuda said he is committed to removing bureaucracy in order to facilitate the expansion of the agricultural sector and increase investment.
He noted that the ministry’s Trade Facilitation Taskforce is working with the Jamaica Customs Agency and other entities to streamline operations and create an enabling environment for local and international investment.
My ministry is dedicated to facilitating the expansion of trade, both domestic and international, and forging linkages that will serve us over time, where we will produce for the export market,” he said.
The minister also called on stakeholders in the agri-industrial sector to look for innovative ways to attract the European and United States markets and to aggressively seek out opportunities in those regions.
He maintained confidence that the agricultural sector will significantly contribute to the Government’s target of achieving five per cent growth in four years, noting that figures already indicate that the sector has grown by 12.6 per cent for the 2016/17 fiscal year.
“We have been seeing success, because through collaboration and interaction with the leaders of the private sector and the holders of capital, we have sought to create partnership with the farming, manufacturing and small-business communities to completely shift the emphasis from relying heavily on imports,” Samuda said.
He added that investment in the sector continues to increase. “I can say with great enthusiasm and satisfaction that every day it seems to be increasing in (great) proportions. We have been able to get a buy-in to agriculture in a very dramatic way,” he said. (JIS)