#Jamaica, May 01, 2018 – Montego Bay – National Irrigation Commission (NIC) Chairman, Senator Aubyn Hill, says the agriculture sector stands to benefit significantly from a reduction in Jamaica’s food imports bill, which averages approximately US$850 million.
Addressing an NIC customer appreciation day function at the Braco irrigation district office in Trelawny on April 11, he argued that any percentage of savings that can be realised, “we could put into enhancing the sector”.
“If 30 per cent of that can go for grains for chicken… or pigs… we could immediately make a difference. We must get to the place where that US$850 million is not going overseas but is being used right here in Jamaica on our farms.
“That is the mindset I want us to have… (to) eat what we grow and grow what we eat. Let’s produce and take it to our hotels. Tourism is all about linkages and the linkage between tourism and agriculture is being created,” he stated.
Senator Hill, who is also Executive Director of the Economic Growth Council, welcomed the increased number of women involved in farming, noting that the sector has tremendous potential for persons to make a decent livelihood.
“I am happy to see the women as they are very consistent. They are committed, they produce and they work very hard. Agriculture is a part of the growth of this country (and) I want to see more people involved, and you can count on the support from my agency,” he stated.
The NIC Chairman further added that efficiency in Government and the agricultural sector are two of the main factors that will ensure that Jamaica achieves higher levels of growth. Meanwhile, Senator Hill underscored the importance of having a proper irrigation system to support agriculture.
“We can’t get that growth going without a consistent supply of water. Water is life and we have to ensure we (are) providing adequate supplies,” he stated.