A review of agricultural policies: case study of Jamaica

A review of agricultural policies: case study of Jamaica

Was incorporating agriculture into an overall national industry policy a right strategy for Jamaica?

Although facing declining economic fortunes, the agricultural sector in Jamaica continues to play a pivotal role with respect to food security and rural livelihoods. This report provides an analytical review of the major policy provisions for the agricultural sector in Jamaica.

The document highlights that:

  • current status of Jamaican agricultural sector appears to have been influenced by the cumulative effects of economy-wide policies
  • in this context, over the last two decades, sugar productivity declined, and foreign food aid and dumping surpluses on local market impacted negatively on food industries
  • the subsequent policy response was the incorporation of agriculture into an overall national industry policy
  • in addition, Jamaica abandoned its supply-oriented policies for the traditionals, replacing them with specific market based strategies
  • identically, policies were developed for a cluster of non-traditional commodities, categorised as domestic food crops

Nevertheless, the authors find that the current policy measures may be deemed non-specific for the Caribbean Community Regional Transformation Programme (RTP) commodities. Therefore, they recommend the following:

  • further refinement and detailing of the policies should be formatted for the RTP commodities of interest
  • science and research should now be focused on the key technological constraints facing food industries with respect to raising productivity and quality
  • the concept of clustering production so as to provide the physical infrastructure and institutional support to producers and marketers, both efficiently and cost effectively is highly recommended
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