Seven hundred farmers,who operate in the Essex Valley region of St. Elizabeth,will benefit from training towards enabling them to achieve Global Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification.

The training is part of the Essex Valley Agriculture Development Project (EVADP), which aims to enhance the production and productivity of farmers in a sustainable, climate-sensitive manner, while improving their livelihood.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Dermon Spence,said that Global GAP certification is critical to the growth and sustainability of the local agriculture sector.

 The international certification was developed to ensure that farm produce meets required food-safety standards while minimizing the detrimental environmental impacts of farming operations.

Mr. Spence said that certification to the standard will make local farmers more competitive globally, thereby increasing the country’s agricultural exports.

“We (Jamaica) cannot compete internationally without being fully certified,” he said at the Global GAP consultancy meeting at The Courtleigh Hotel in New Kingston on Monday (September 2).

 “I hope that it becomes the norm that our farmers – big, medium and small – are certified and are in a place where they are prepared to take on the world and the national economy in terms of guaranteeing and ensuring that the … produce that we are consuming is safe, traceable and can stand up to quality scrutiny from anywhere around the world,” he added.