ST JAMES, Jamaica (JIS) — Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Karl Samuda, has urged farmers in western Jamaica to re-enter the cattle industry, in an effort to reduce imports and improve the country’s position in beef and milk production.
Speaking at the relaunch of the Westmoreland Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the Savanna-la-Mar Methodist Church Hall on June 4, Samuda said the fall-off in production has left the beef and dairy sectors in dire need of restoration.
The minister said there are also opportunities in the value-added dairy and beef market for Jamaica’s farmers.
“We have got to restore not only our beef industry, but our dairy industry in this country. We have to produce that which can be grown, nurtured and developed locally and instead of exporting the raw material, we can add value to it and export it, so that we can earn the foreign exchange that we so badly need,” Samuda said.
Meanwhile, the Minister is lamenting the fall-off in business for the local dressmakers and tailors due mainly to large imports of clothing.
“That group of highly skilled workers, known as dressmakers and tailors, are almost a dying breed,” he said.
He said that Jamaicans, especially the young, must be encouraged to utilize the services of these professionals who have earned the reputation of producing clothing of better value than their overseas counterparts.
“It is only if we inculcate in the minds of the young that whilst your tastes have become very discriminating, we have got to acquire the taste, the desire and the love for those things that are manufactured locally with local hands and with local raw materials,” the minister urged.
Samuda said that while things from abroad might be attractive, “they are sometimes not as good and durable as those we make”.