News : Farmers to be Assisted with Marketing, Sale of Produce
March 21, 2014 -- A National Micro Farmer Agricultural Marketing System will be established to assist farmers with the marketing and sale of their produce.
The system is being developed under a pilot phase with a grant from the Universal Services Fund, and is being spearheaded by the Jamaica Agricultural Society Commercial Enterprises Limited (JASCEL).
Government Senator and President of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) Norman Grant, who made the announcement, said an important component of the initiative is the establishment of a Farmers' Call Centre.
Grant, who was making his contribution to the State of the Nation Debate in the Senate, said the Farmers' Call Centre would utilise an online marketing platform to capture and disseminate information on farmers' production, market demand and prices.
"This platform will have the capacity to interface with the farming community, buyers, extension services, government agencies and other stakeholders in the agricultural sector," he said.
Grant said the programme will initially see the registration of 500 farmers as contract farmers, who will produce for the affiliated buyers of the central marketing system.
In the meantime, he announced that the JAS has received a donation of 270 computers from the Korean Government to be distributed locally.
The computers will be used to enhance the Farmers' Call Centre by establishing Community Access Point sites in each JAS parish office, and in certain designated communities and institutions.
Grant said the agriculture marketing system's main focus will be on five non-traditional crops for marketing in 2014. These are: red peas, pumpkin, sweet potato, yellow yam, and carrots.
These will be marketed through specific buyers with whom we will have a formal relationship," he said.
Senator Grant informed that the JASCEL has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Nations Choice to supply high-quality produce to its clientele, which includes hotels, supermarkets and high-value food stores.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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