WRITTEN BY: ALECIA SMITH
State Minister for Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon Floyd Green, is encouraging owners of unused arable lands to enter into an arrangement with the Government to have these properties leased for agricultural production.
Speaking at a webinar on exploring investment opportunities in agri-business, hosted by Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) on July 22, Mr. Green said through an agricultural land-matching programme under the Agro-Investment Corporation (AIC), the Government will assist interested agricultural landowners in leasing their lands to suitable investors/farmers.
The State Minister was responding to a question posed by a participant from the Jamaican Diaspora.
“Contact the AIC; we will take that hassle from you. We will do the process of leasing that land to put into agricultural production. So, if you’re interested, if you have agricultural land and it’s not making any resources, you want to do something with it. If you are willing to lease it to a farmer who is willing to put it into production, the AIC can do that for you,” he assured.
Mr. Green further informed owners of agricultural lands of the “hand-holding services” JAMPRO provides for those looking to enter into partnerships for direct investment in their property.
“JAMPRO can work with the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) to see if they can pair you with any investor that may be interested in investing but they don’t have the land…[to] see how we can bring the two of you together, so that we can start some production,” he noted.
To qualify for this assistance, landowners should own at least 100 acres and be seeking to transfer agricultural lands via lease or other tenure arrangements to suitable investors/farmers.
The mandatory requirements to complete this process are an application fee of $5,000; copy of photo identification and taxpayer registration number (TRN); Tax Compliance Certificate (if applicable); copy of the title or deed of the property; Articles of Incorporation or organisational documents (for companies); and two referees with contact information (must be either a justice of the peace, credit union manager, bank manager, member of Parliament, medical practitioner and or principal (primary, secondary or tertiary educational institution).
Interested landowners, both locally and in the Jamaican Diaspora, can apply to the AIC. The application form is available for download at www.agroinvest.gov.jm and should be completed and submitted with the relevant supporting documents to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Application forms are also available at RADA offices islandwide and the AIC’s corporate office located at 188 Spanish Town Road, Kingston 11. For more information, persons can call (876) 764-8365 or (876) 923-9268.
As part of its mandate of promoting and facilitating agri-business investments, the AIC, which is an agency of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, provides property management and commercial leasing in a bid to engender increased agricultural production and farm profitability.
Agricultural landowners who are unsure of the best usage of any unused land space, can also receive guidance from Agro-Invest in identifying the most suitable agricultural enterprise to invest in and aid in the development of this business.
In addition to land, Agro-Invest provides other facilities geared at aiding the sector, such as the rental of office space, warehouses, processing/post-harvest facilities, and factory space.
The webinar also served to highlight government policy to support agribusiness, and featured a panel discussion sharing the success experienced by investors in the sector.