KINGSTON, Jamaica, April 20, 2019 (CMC) – Jamaica is developing a “land bank”, aimed at identifying properties across the country, that are suitable for agriculture, but are not being used.
Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Audley Shaw, said the initiative will help persons, who are seeking land for farming, to gain access to them, easily.
He said the lands would be classified in three categories, and these include: sugar company lands that are no longer being used for sugar cane; lands held by the National Land Agency (NLA); and idle bauxite lands.
“That inventory of land, I’m going to make available to the people of Jamaica, so you can see where the lands are, across the country, that are idle. The leasing is starting now, so if you haven’t applied yet and you want land, apply for it at the National Land Agency,” Shaw said.
He said that persons, who take up the offers, will have to use the lands in a specific time frame.
Shaw, speaking at the Small Business Association of Jamaica’s (SBAJ) second regional Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (MSME) Conference, said MSMEs contribute, significantly, to gross domestic product (GDP), and are a growing source of export revenues, particularly in developing nations, such as Jamaica.
“I am, therefore, keen on being a part of any discussion that has, at its core, the advancement of our MSMEs, which are an invaluable asset to our country,” Shaw said, adding that the “impact of this sector cannot be overemphasised, given our quest for economic growth and stability”.
“It is, therefore, paramount that, as government, we remain on the path to creating a facilitatory ecosystem for the MSME sector to thrive,” he added.