Attempts by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture, and Fisheries to get citizens to support the sector appear to be effective, with the ministry now expecting further growth despite the impact of COVID-19 on farmers. State Minister Floyd Green made spoke on the issue at a recent webinar.
“The last quarter which is the quarter directly before going into the impact of COVID-19 agriculture grew by 7.8% which means all in all our agriculture is on a growth trajectory despite COVID19 and the shocks to the supply chain.” said Minister Green.”We want to keep it on that growth trajectory.”
To ensure that this happens, the agriculture ministry has a 5-year action plan geared towards facilitating investment and demand for agricultural produce. Minister Green says this will also allow for joint private and public partnerships.
“Part of the vision is that we have to move agriculture from being seen as more of a social intervention programme to be seen as a business,” he explained. ” So, we ask JAMPRO to lead that charge to develop a national agro-business strategy that was done last year. JAMPRO brought in a consultant and they developed the strategy which is a five-year national strategy around agriculture that looks at the social and economic transformation of the rural economy, looks at varying business models, and how we can develop supporting ecosystems; food and nutritional security.”
At the same time, the minister is calling on owners of unused arable land to lease to the government for agricultural production.
“Contact the Agro Investment Corporation (AIC). We will take that hassle from you. We will do the process of leasing that land to put it into agricultural production for you. So, if you are interested, if you have agricultural land, it is not making any resources and you want to do something with it, you are willing to lease it to a farmer who can put it into the production, the AIC can do that for you.”