News Date: July 22 2016
William J.C. Hutchinson, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Fisheries and Agriculture, is defending his personal decision to use some $300,000 worth of taxpayers' money to date to clear farmland in North East St Elizabeth, owned by an overseas company.
The member of parliament for North East St Elizabeth said, during a media briefing at the agriculture ministry's Hope Gardens head office, that the decision to provide the money to Farm Up Jamaica was consistent with government efforts to help in developing the local organic-farming sector.
"It is against this background that I am very happy to endorse the work that Farm Up Jamaica has been doing, not only to promote organic farming, but also to provide farmer assistance, identify market produce (and) assist with inputs, irrigation, equipment and training.
"What is significant is that this organisation was formed by concerned Jamaicans in the diaspora and internationals who have formed alliances with Jamaican food manufacturers worldwide to guarantee markets for crops both locally and internationally," Hutchinson said.
"Through their accomplishments to date, they have aptly demonstrated not just their commitment to this country, but the value of true partnerships in building this sector and this nation," he added, in response to questions about his decision to provide the money.