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MONTEGO BAY, St. James, March 27, 2014: The Agro-Tourism Farmers’ Market, an effort initiated by the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment to create sustainable linkages between the tourism industry and other sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and entertainment has been eagerly welcomed by stakeholders in St. James.
Spearheaded by the ministry’s Tourism Linkages Hub, in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, through the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) the event had its first staging yesterday, March 26, in the parking lot of the Catherine Hall Mini Stadium, Montego Bay. Other partners include the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) to name a few.
The St. James Agro-Tourism Farmers’, was welcomed by the community and received endorsement from the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the St. James Parish Council, the Culinary Federation, and the HEART Trust NTA.
President of the St. James Branch Societies of the Jamaica Agricultural Society and Mayor of Montego Bay, His Worship Councillor Glendon Harris, welcomed the initiative, saying it opens windows of opportunity for farmers and allows tourism industry players to see that the farmers are able to supply them with much of the produce they need to feed their guests.
Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce, Gloria Henry, who oversees the agro-industry portfolio, also expressed pleasure in having an agro-tourism farmers’ market in St. James. She sees it as “an excellent merging of the sectors,” as she underscored that the “agro-industry and tourism should be working much closer together than they do now.” Ms. Henry is confident the sectors can benefit from each other.
Hotel proprietor and restaurateur, Evelyn Dayes said, “it is a great idea” and urged more entities to support the initiative.
Vendors at the Agro-Tourism Farmers’ Market travelled from as far afield as St. Elizabeth with condiments, fruits, vegetables and other ground provision. There were also wellness products, floral and citrus potted plants, basketry, leather craft and works of art on sale.
The Jamaica Culinary Federation, RADA and Kenilworth HEART Academy demonstrated the use of local products in delightful Jamaican cuisine and treated patrons to tasty samples.
The Agro-Tourism Farmers’ Market initiative was started in Negril in October 2013 and will see the hosting of similar markets in Ocho Rios and other resort areas.