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News for Week of September 5, 2021
We are here to inspire, motivate and uplift.

Do you have idle lands? Lease them to the government

The Agro-Investment Corporation (AgroInvest) is urging Jamaicans who own 30 acres of land or more to consider leasing their properties for agricultural production.

This would be facilitated through the Agriculture Landowner Match Programme, which began in May of last year.

Marketing and Communications Manager at Agro-Invest, Alecia Brown-Forbes said the programme has piqued the interest of Jamaicans.

“We realise that in Jamaica there are many acres of unused land owned by private citizens that can be used for agricultural purposes. We, therefore, want persons who own large amounts – 30 acres or more – to apply to us. We will research, promote and try to find suitable investors for those lands,” Mrs. Forbes said.

The work of the Agro-Investment Corporation is centred on supporting an environment for the sustainable development of agriculture in Jamaica.

Mrs. Forbes said under the Agriculture Landowner Match Programme, the Corporation makes the leasing process easier for landowners.

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There’s a hot market for fresh vegetables

Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) is encouraging entrepreneurs to invest in vegetable cultivation for the hospitality sector.

Manager for JAMPRO’s Sales and Promotions Division, with responsibility for agribusiness, Marlene Porter, says there are numerous market opportunities for fresh vegetables, especially in the hotel sector.

“What we have seen is, with COVID-19 we [had] a dip taking place there. However, we don’t expect this dip to stay and, interestingly, when we look at the numbers, most of the investment interest that we are seeing coming into us surrounds crops –  vegetables in particular,” she said.

Ms. Porter pointed out that there are specific crops in high demand that investors can focus on. She indicated that they include cabbage, lettuce, and broccoli, noting that “[these are] things that the local tourism industry needs.”

“What we have found, too, is that a lot of the crops that we are talking about are also consumed by locals… and we have been importing a lot of them. So, these opportunities are seen by investors, and they are looking at them a great deal,” she said.

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Female business owners get help from UN body

Ten women business owners will receive financial and business development support to scale up their business operations under the Women in Entrepreneurship Support (WES) Project Phase II.

Under the project, participants will have access to a suite of business development services, including training, with the aim of building capacity, attracting investment opportunities, and increasing market share and revenue of small and medium-sized enterprise (SMEs).

It also seeks to facilitate the integration of these SMEs into the national, regional and global value chains.

Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Minister Olivia Grange said the Government is seeking to ensure that women are provided with the requisite technical and financial support to become successful entrepreneurs.

“The WES project was developed to empower female entrepreneurs, so that they have economically viable and sustainable businesses,” she said.

UN Women Multi-Country Office Representative, Tonni-Ann Brodber, said the initiative is supported by the UN Women EnGenDER project. “We know that the economic empowerment is interrelated with reducing inequality, increasing security and safety,” she added.

United Nations (UN) Women is providing over a million dollars under the programme. Each participant will receive $100,000 towards business development activities.

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Tree Seedlings
Tree Seedlings

From left: Marketing officer Nakeisha Sewell and marketing supervisor Kadeon Crighton, both from the Forestry Department, along with Kareen Cox, public relations and promotions executive, and Kisha-Kay Walker, retail business consultant, both from Texaco Jamaica, displaying fruit seedlings. Both entities are collaborating to distribute free tree seedlings across the island as a part of the National Tree Planting Initiative.

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Plant Life
Plant Life

Ainsley Henry, chief executive officer, Forestry Department, guides builder Tonianne Smith, of the Clan Carthy Primary School, in planting a soursop tree on the school grounds at the Kiwanis Club of North St Andrew Tree Planting Project in observance of Kiwanis One Day.

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Pineapples
Pineapples

A representative from the Annotto Bay Fire Station shows off her freshly picked JP St Mary’s pineapple alongside JP St Mary’s Assistant Depot Manager Simone Saunderson during a handover of care packages with the vitamin C-rich fruit to the Fire Brigade. The donation by JP St Mary’s is part of an overall initiative to encourage essential workers to eat healthy foods to boost their immune systems.

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Tree Seedlings
Tree Seedlings

From left: Marketing officer Nakeisha Sewell and marketing supervisor Kadeon Crighton, both from the Forestry Department, along with Kareen Cox, public relations and promotions executive, and Kisha-Kay Walker, retail business consultant, both from Texaco Jamaica, displaying fruit seedlings. Both entities are collaborating to distribute free tree seedlings across the island as a part of the National Tree Planting Initiative.

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Jamaica tightens screws on human traffickers

The Ministry of National Security National Task Force Against Trafficking in Persons says that the recent amendments to the Trafficking in Persons Act signals its intent to reduce trafficking in persons locally.

Head of the ministry’s Trafficking in Persons Secretariat Chenee Russell Robinson said that important amendments were made earlier this year. He explained that “9reviously, it was imprisonment or fine or both. However, now a person convicted of trafficking can only be imprisoned or imprisoned and fined, so you cannot be fined only.”

According to Mrs Russell Robinson, this is a part of the Government’s measures to prevent and combat trafficking in persons. She said, “We believe that trafficking is a dire crime, it has a psychological impact on the victims [whose] lives can be destroyed, and it is a breach of human rights, and it falls under transnational organised crime. We believe that to reflect the nature of this crime, a fine alone is not sending a signal to persons that this is a type of crime that we need to get rid of from our shores.”

She added that the amendments reflected international standards and best practices.

Bobby says trains are ready to roll for students

Robert ‘Bobby’ Montague, the Minister of Transport and Mining, is getting ready for the trains to roll again for students, once schools are reopened following their shutdown more than a year again due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He has just hosted a wide cross section of stakeholders aboard a Jamaica Railway Corporation (JRC) passenger train for a final test run of the school train service.

         

The passengers included students and teachers from several St. Catherine schools, and representatives of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, the Ministry of Health and Wellness, the St. Catherine Municipal Corporation, the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC), and the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

They were taken on a round trip from Spanish Town to Linstead in St Catherine, which is one of two routes that the train service will operate. The other is from Old Harbour to Spanish Town, also in St Catherine.

The rail service is being facilitated through partnerships involving the JRC, the JUTC and the Education Ministry and will initially operate one round trip per day on the two routes.

Minister Montague said that the revival of the passenger train service at this time to transport students was apt and timely, given the current realities. 

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