Jamaica Can Benefit from Reduced Food Imports – Senator Hill

first_img 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. “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. 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. Story Highlights 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”.last_img read more

Measures Being Undertaken to Improve Access to Information

first_imgStory Highlights Director at the Unit, Damian Cox, told JIS News that the entity will be introducing institutional report cards to measure how public authorities are performing in terms of providing access to information and the overall fulfilment of access to information rights. The Access to Information (ATI) Unit will be undertaking some critical initiatives aimed at improving service delivery, compliance and reporting mechanisms for government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).Director at the Unit, Damian Cox, told JIS News that the entity will be introducing institutional report cards to measure how public authorities are performing in terms of providing access to information and the overall fulfilment of access to information rights.He noted that the initiative will commence with a pilot in 10 public authorities, and is aimed at addressing some of the gaps that have been identified through the complaints and appeals processes.“We are pushing for a baseline assessment of access to information knowledge of rights for next year, so we are going to be ramping up both our public education campaign and then measuring how many persons actually know about their rights, and how they can use access to information to empower themselves,” the Director informed.He added that the Unit will be considering improved mechanisms to reach its clients more effectively though social media, its website and other electronic platforms.“So, we are looking at how do we reach more Jamaicans in the ways in which it is convenient for them; how do we respond in terms of persons accessing information in a more mobile way and how do we engage our stakeholders in trying to make sure that information is provided to persons and access to information rights can be upheld in a manner that suits the user,” Mr. Cox noted further.He pointed out that the Unit’s intention is to transform its operations through improved, effective means that will see it delivering better service to both the general public and the public authorities. He noted that the initiative will commence with a pilot in 10 public authorities, and is aimed at addressing some of the gaps that have been identified through the complaints and appeals processes. The Access to Information (ATI) Unit will be undertaking some critical initiatives aimed at improving service delivery, compliance and reporting mechanisms for government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).last_img read more