What’s Agribusiness Anyway?

So you’ve been hearing the term “Agribusiness” and that it is one of the focal sectors of the Jamaican government. Well, this week, we are delving into the various elements of the sector and its connection with the Jamaican economy.

Agribusiness, in short, refers to the business of farming with all the variables in between, which includes warehouses, wholesalers, processors, retailers- as well as the many spin-offs that can arise out of agriculture.

Chavar Harris, Senior Sales and Promotions Officer (Agribusiness) at JAMPRO recently presented on the “Opportunities in the Agribusiness in Jamaica” to over 300 farmers in Clarendon where he highlighted the significance the agricultural sector to Jamaica.

“Agribusiness is important to all of us, it contributes approximately 7% of the GDP and has always been a key driver for economic growth in Jamaica from sugar cane days to now,” he shared.

The truth is, times have changed, and agriculture is no longer a profession you take up “when all else fails”. Persons are now becoming fully aware of the breadth and earning potential of the industry ranging from organic foods to niche products.

The organic food market is a big money earner and worldwide trend shows that more and more persons will spend big on healthy eating. While organic farming is more expensive, research shows that the rewards are greater. In fact, data reveals that the US organic food market size is expected to be worth $70.4 billion by 2025, stemming from the increasing demand from consumers.

With many Jamaicans getting more health-conscious and wanting to avoid fertilized foods, demand for organic food is growing faster than domestic supply which opens a wide range of opportunities for Jamaican farmers.

Outside of organic farming, the food industry on a whole is expanding as the population increases. Everybody needs to be fed, and as Harris shared the food business is not going down, it has to go up.

“For those who have lands and production facilities, it only means that what you have is going to get more valuable,” he points out.

Although the growing of organic crops and animal rearing has its place, Harris said there are also lucrative value-added and niche areas in agriculture to focus on such as “functional foods, nutraceutical ingredients, seasonings, condiments, spices and other authentic Jamaican food and beverages.”

Sharing on other opportunities, Harris also highlighted the aquaculture industry and said that there is a planned expansion for shrimp and freshwater fish to meet the demand of the local market.

Considering the various elements and opportunities of the Agri-business sector, with the right level and type of investment, Jamaica can enjoy dramatic revenue growth in agriculture and investors can also enjoy healthy, sustainable returns from quality products that are internationally recognised and respected.

For further information on Jamaica’s Agribusiness sector, please contact JAMPRO at info@jamprocorp.com.

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Cecelia Campbell- Livingston - Contributor
Cecelia Campbell-Livingston has over 20 years of journalism experience. Her career started as a writer for the now defunct Jamaica Record, before moving on to The Jamaica Herald/XNews. Later, she served as Coordinator for the teen publication, Teen Herald. In 2008 she joined the staff of the Jamaica Observer as an entertainment writer. Since December 2014, she has been the Clarendon correspondent for the Jamaica Gleaner.

The views expressed by contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of JAMPRO

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