KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Government will soon begin the process of divesting former sugarcane lands to be used for high-yielding, profitable crop production.
“The crisis of sugar must now emerge into a glorious opportunity of so many other things that we can produce in Jamaica,” said Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Audley Shaw.
“We are about to distribute sugar lands across the length and breadth of Clarendon, St Catherine, Trelawny, and to some extent Westmoreland. We have hundreds of applications for lands now; people want to produce all kinds of things,” he added.
Shaw was speaking at the opening ceremony for the 12th staging of the Jamaica Business Development Corporation's (JBDC) small business exposition and conference at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Tuesday.
He said that the lands are expected to attract large investors engaging in exotic crops, bamboo production, Sea Island cotton, coconut, among other things.
“We don't realise the wealth that we are sitting on,” he said.
In the meantime, Shaw reiterated that the Government is looking to expand agro-processing for local consumption and export.
He said that the AMC complex on Spanish Town Road is being targeted to become a modern agro-processing centre, “so that (JBDC) clients, who are producing and designing all these exotic things that are on display (at the small business expo), are going to be able to get factory space”.
Shaw noted that members of the private sector are also investing in modern agro-processing facilities across the island. “The opportunities now abound for us to get serious,” he added.
The expo and conference, held on May 15 at The Jamaica Pegasus, targeted entrepreneurs who are interested in or involved in the cultural and creative industries.
The event, under the theme 'Monetising the Orange Economy: The Future is Creative', included presentations and seminars exploring business development issues relating to innovation, financing, investment, marketing, strategy, intellectual property, among others.