Cayman officials visit agriculture and food show in Jamaica

Speaker of the House McKeeva Bush, centre, with staff of the Department of Agriculture and Ministry of Agriculture, along with members of the Cayman Islands Agriculture Society and their tour guide at the Abbey Garden Farm.

A delegation from the Cayman Islands picked up some tips and got a firsthand look at Jamaica’s agriculture industry this week.

Premier Alden McLaughlin, Agriculture Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly and Speaker of the House McKeeva Bush were among the officials visiting the 67th Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show in Clarendon, Jamaica. The three-day show, hosted by the Jamaica Agricultural Society on 4‑6 Aug. is the largest of its kind in the English-speaking Caribbean.

“Jamaica has one of the most diversified and strongest agriculture sectors in the Caribbean, particularly with respect to livestock,” Premier McLaughlin said in a press release. “This visit gives us an opportunity to observe firsthand and learn from Jamaica’s technical expertise in agriculture. I also look forward to continuing the conversation with the Prime Minister during his visit a few weeks ago with regard to increasing trade between our two countries.

“This is important as we continue to not only expand our own locally grown agriculture products, but also seek other sources to help diversify Cayman’s access to food supplies.”

While in Jamaica, in addition to attending Denbigh, McLaughlin and O’Connor-Connolly will meet with Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness and other government ministers on a variety of topics, including trade and border security, the release stated.

Also on the trip were staff and representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of International Trade, Ministry of Commerce, Department of Agriculture and the Cayman Islands Agricultural Society. The delegation looked at Jamaican farming systems such as plant hydroponics and livestock farming, and how the country’s agriculture practice and farming activities meet international environmental and food safety standards.

Premier Alden McLaughlin meets Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness prior to the opening the ceremony of the ‘Prime Minister’s Day’.

“It is important to note that our agriculture sector is perpetually evolving,” O’Connor-Connolly said in the release. “We must continue to be active and intentional in our strategies towards implementing agricultural best practices, and understanding how it plays a crucial role in the life of our economic system.

“Directly exposing our very own subject-area experts to the various systems and programmes, whether strategic, traditional or technological in nature, allows for us to make tangible advancements, ultimately towards making the lives of our people better. The [Cayman Islands Agricultural Society] can model the dynamic signature activations to further enhance our own local Agriculture Shows and DoA staff can gain firsthand experiences of systems that can be scaled for our topography and of course, climatic challenges. We must plan for a better tomorrow, today.”