The Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) has purchased six laptop computers and six cell phones at a cost of $1.5 million, which will enable staff at the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) to work from home and have access to the Agri-linkages Exchange (A.L.E.X) platform.
They were handed over by Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett to Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Floyd Green, during a digital press briefing, held today (April 2) to provide an update on the tourism sector.
The A.L.E.X platform is a bi-partite agreement between the Ministry of Tourism, through the Tourism Linkages Network, and the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, through RADA. The online platform was developed in 2017 to establish a bridge between sellers (farmers) and buyers (tourism stakeholders) to facilitate the exchange of goods.
It allows farmers across Jamaica to upload the respective produce cultivated and allows for further purchase. However, with the closure of the hotels, focus is now being placed on providing linkages to restaurants and supermarkets.
In his remarks, Mr. Bartlett said the donation will allow small farmers to have access to the platform. “So, the small farmer who is now producing supplies that will normally go to the hotel can now connect with supermarkets and other marketing sources, so that he can move his produce from the field and get a return even during this difficult time,” he said.
For his part, Mr. Green said the equipment will enable staff to work from home while monitoring the A.L.E.X platform. He noted that the equipment will allow for the staff members to channel the orders made through the platform in a timely manner.
“The A.L.E.X is critical because people are unable to leave their homes to go to the regular markets and supermarkets. So, what we have said to the team is that we now have more orders of individuals who are logging on to the platform. [Also] what we find is that a lot of the farmers will deliver [the produce] themselves. So, now the A.L.E.X platform is providing us with an outlet for access to this excess produce,” Mr. Green said.