Tourism in­ter­ests urged to in­vest in agri­cul­ture

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS -

CHAIR­MAN OF the Tourism Link­ages Coun­cil, Adam Ste­wart, is call­ing on hote­liers and other tourism in­ter­ests, to in­vest in the lo­cal agri­cul­ture sec­tor, not­ing that this is a sure -fire way of en­hanc­ing the coun­try’ s eco­nomic devel­op­ment.

He notes that “for too long, we have been ig­nor­ing the ob­vi­ous link­age be­tween two of Ja­maica’ s most im­por­tant sec­tors – agri­cul­ture and tourism – and the ben­e­fits to be had in get­ting them to work in sync with each other.

“I am to­day call­ing on and en­cour­ag­ing all of cor­po­rate Ja­maica, all of the other ho­tel brands, lo­cally and for­eignowned, to pay at­ten­tion to the farm­ers. Pay at­ten­tion to the farm­ers who have a role to play in the growth that the in­dus­try is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing to­day. Their (the farm­ers) suc­cess is Ja­maica’s suc­cess, which is the in­dus­try’s suc­cess,” said Ste­wart, who is also chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of San­dals Re­sorts In­ter­na­tional.

San­dals has made an up­front pur­chase of more t han $3 mil­lion wor th of Ir­ish po­tato seeds for lo­cal farm­ers, which equates to 1,300 bags, ca­pa­ble of plant­ing 40 to 50 acres. The pro­vi­sion is ex­pected to yield 700,000 pounds of po­ta­toes to sup­ply the San­dals chain.

While five farm­ers will ben­e­fit in this ini­tial phase, the ob­jec­tive is to ex­pand the pro­gramme, so that farm­ers will be the sole providers of Ir­ish po­ta­toes to the en­tire San­dals group, which com­prise 11 re­sorts in Ja­maica.

“The main aim is for San­dals to be 100 per cent sup­plied with Ja­maica-grown Ir­ish po­tato, with no fur­ther rea­son to im­port. This is a long-term sus­tain­able pro­gramme,” Ste­wart noted. “It is about grow­ing lo­cally, buy­ing lo­cally, and putting these mi­cro and small farm­ers into busi­ness with a guar­an­tee buy-back pro­gramme.”

He added, “What we are do­ing here at a start­ing place should yield some $25 mil­lion worth of busi­ness to these farm­ers and move us fur ther and fur ther away from im­port sub­sti­tu­tion.”

Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer of San­dals Re­sorts, Adam Ste­wart.

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