JAMAICA'S AGRICULTURAL SECTOR
3AMAICA'S AGRICULTURAL SECTOR
I. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS . . . .
II. INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . .
A. Purpose of Sector Assessment .. ..
B. Methodolgy . . . . . . .
C. Brief Summary of Available Analytical
Efforts . . . . . . .
III. PERFORMANCE OF THE AGRICULTURAL SECTOR .
A. Nutrition . . . . . .
1. Nutritional Status: . . .
2. Food Supplies: . . . . .
B. Providing Food for the Nation .
1. Crops: . . . . . . .
2. Beef:. . . . . . . .
3. Pork: . . . . . .
4. Sheep: . . . . . . .
5. Goats: . . . . . .
6. Dairy: . . . . . . .
7. Fish: . . . . . .
8. Poultry . . . . . .
C. Providing Foreign Exchange Earnings.
D. Providing Work for the Population.
E. Providing Capital Formation .. .
IV. JAMAICA'S GOALS AND STRATEGY FOR AGRICULT
. . 10
. . 12
S . 17
. . 18
. . 19
. . 19
. . 21
. . 22
. . 23
. . 24
URE . 26
A. The Jamaican Goals for Rural Development,
etc.. . . . . . . . . .
B. To Attain these Goals, etc... . . ..
V. AGRICULTURAL RESOURCES . . . . . .
A. Resources . . . . . . . .
1. Human: . . . . . . . .
2. Land: . . . . . . . .
3. Forests: . . . . . . . .
4. Water: . . . . . . . .
. . 3
T. The Ptdro Plains. . . . . 44
b. The Martha Brae V iley. . . . 45
c. The Clarendon Pla Ts. . . . . 46
d. The Rio Cobre Bas n .. . ..... 46
5. Fish Offshore: . . . . . . 48
6. Fish and Shrimp Farming:. ...... .51
7. Animal Health: . . . . . ... .52
B. Management and Operations . . . ... .55
1. Management Units: . . . . . .. .55
2. Capital: . . . . . . . . 57
3. Tenure: . . . . . ... . .60
4. Credit: . . . . .. . . . 61
5. Inputs: . . . . . ... . . 63
6. Marketing: . . . . . . .. 64
C. Domestic Distribution . . . . ... .68
1. The Agricultural Marketing Corporation: 68
a. Purchasing Policy:. . . . .. 68
b. Purchasing Prices:. .... . .. 69
c. Quantities Purchased: . .. . . 69
d. Distribution: . . . ..... 70
e. Provision of Ancilliary Services: .. 70
f. Marketing Problems: . .. . . 71
2. The "Higgler" System: . . .. . . 73
3. Family Members: . . . . . . 74
4. Supermarkets and Green Markets: . . 74
D. Food Processing .. . . . . . . .74
1. Milk Processing:. . . . . . ... 78
2. Meat Processing:. . . . . . .. 79
3. Scope of Development: . . . . .. 80
4. Production Bottlenecks: . . . .. 81
a. Milk and Dairy Products:. .. .... .81
b. Canning and Preserving of Fruits
and Vegetables. . . ... . 81
c. The Unreliability of Supply of
Basic Raw Materials . ... .83
d. The Shortage of Skilled Labor . .. 84
5. Transportation: . . . . . . 84
VI. ORGANIZATIONS AND INSTITUTIONS. . . .. 87
A. Farmers Organizations and Cooperatives. 87
B. Ministry of Agriculture . . . .. 87
C. Other Sector Services . . . . .. 88
1. Extension Services: . . . .. 88
2. Research: . . . . . . . 91
3. Local Government: . . . . .. 93
4. Agricultural Education: . . .. 93
VII. CONSTRAINTS, OPPORTUNITIES AND CHANGES
NEEDED . . . . . . . . 95
VIII. STRATEGY AND GENERAL RECOMMENDATIONS. ... . 108-
A. Strategy . . . .. . . . 108
B. General Recommendations . . . .. 109
1. Institutional Changes:. ... .. 109
2. Marketing and Transportation: . .. 110
3. Input Institutions: . . . .. 112
4. Production Targets: . . . .. 113
IX. PROJECTS RECOMMENDED FOR AID LOAN FINANCING 119
A. Action Programs:. ..... . . .. 119-
B. Research Programs: . . . . . 120
APPENDIX I Nutrition . . ... . .. 122
A. Food Availabiliyy: . . . . . 122
B. Food Prices and Trade Policies: ... . 122
C. Income and Expenditure: . . ... 123
D. Taraets and Objectives: . . ... 125
APPENDIX TI Animal Health . . . . .. 131
A. Tick Eradication (Boophilus Species): . 133
B. Screw Worm Eradication: . . ... 135
C. Fertility Control Program: . . .. 136
D. Rodent Control: . . . . ... 137
E. Veterinary Public Health Food Hygiene:. 138
F. Human Resources:. . . . . . .. 139
1. Persons in Significant Groups . . .. 9
2. DieLary, Intakes . . . . . . 11
3. Agricultural Production . . ... . 14
4. Production of Food Crops . . . .. 16
5. Statistics on Local Slaughter and Imports 20
6. Domestic Milk Production and Disposal .. 22
7. Fixed Capital Formation .. . . .. 25
8. Slope Distribution of Total Area . .. 34
9. Main Crops in Pure and Interplanted Stand 35
10. Land Utilization 1970 . . . ... 36
11. Agricultural Projections 1970 1975 . 38-
12. Projected Gross Changes in Land Use
Distribution . . . . . ... 39
13. Projected Softwood Demand . . . .. 43
14. Number and Size of Farms 1968 . . .. 55-
15. Distribution of Farms by Main Source of
Income 1968 . . . . . .. 56
16. Farm Equipment in Size Classes 1968 . 58
17. Food Processing . . . . . . 75
18. Food Processing Establishments ... . 77
19. Projected Demand for Specified Groups of
Processed Food Products . .. . . 80
20. Agricultural Education . . . ... 94
21. Estimated Possible Acreage Increases (By
Crops) . . . . . ... 103
APPENDIX I . . . . . . 122
Table I Per Person Food Availability by Sources -
1972 . . . . . ... 128
Table II Nutritional Values . . . .. .129
(Continued) . . . . . .. 130
I. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
This sector assessment is primarily an inhouse
effort between LA/DR and USAID based on documents
and reports, classified and unclassified, obtained
from the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) and international
agencies i.e. IBRD, IDB, UN, FAO, etc. Although the
GOJ did not actively participate in drafting this
assessment it had a major role in preparing the IBRD/
GOJ Agricultural Sector Assessment, known as the Green
Paper, which was completed in early 1974 and is a base
document for this AID assessment.
It is generally conceded that the economic via-
bility of Jamaica largely depends upon the revitaliza-
tion of the Agriculture Sector. More than half of
Jamaica's population depends upon agriculture for its
livelihood and approximately one third of its employed
labor force is in this sector. Jamaican agriculture
has the potential of reversing the chronic yearly
trade and balance of payments deficits by increased
earnings from agricultural exports and reduced food
imports through increased domestic production. How-
ever the lagging performance of the Agricultural
Sector has been a major factor in Jamaica's balance
of payments difficulties and is responsible for the
rapidly increasing food import bill. Jamaica's gross
domestic product in 1974 was estimated at J$1.9 billion
and agriculture's contribution was J$158 million or
only 8.2 percent of G.D.P., the smallest of all the
main sectors of the economy.
The depressed status of the Agricultural sector
has helped to accelerate the rural migration to the
urban center exacerbating the already acute unemploy-
ment problem. Rural migration has created a situation
in which the average age of farmers is over 50 years.
This has further distorted income distribution in Jamaica
so that 70 to 80 percent of the population earns J$500
or less. The agricultural sector is faced with a series
of disincentives. These include land fragmentation so
that more than 50 percent of Jamaican farms are less
than one acre. Ministry of Agriculture extension
service is inadequate and there is costly multiplicity
of servLces provided by a number of statutory boards.
Farmers lack economic incentives for increased pro-
duction and the marketing structure is high-cost
and inefficient. Government has failed to provide
available improved technology to farmers and research
programs need to be more production oriented. An
adequate credit system is lacking and land suitable
for agricultural production is not fully utilized.
Despite these constraints Jamaican agriculture
has the potential to contribute to improvement in
rural income distribution and a more equitable balance
in urban and rural incomes. Although closing the
gap between rural and urban incomes will be a long-
term process dramatic short-term gains are possible
provided government adopts the appropriate strategy
for agricultural development.
Jamaica with Cuba, Haiti and Puerto Rico comprise the
Greater Antilles, located in the We:stern Caribbean. Until
the mid-1950's Jamaica derived most of its economic activity
from Agriculture. The broadening of its economic base to
include mining and the more modern sectors such as manufac-
turing has seen a continuing decline in Agriculture's con-
tribution to Gross Domestic Product. In absolute terms,
however, there has been some growth in Agriculture even though
The agricultural sector accommodates a decreasing por-
tion, currently estimated at 32 percent, of the nation's
labor force, while the agricultural population comprises
about 30 percent of the total population. Agriculture
creates employment for other sectors of the economy which
increases the portion of the labor force dependent on agri-
culture to about 60 percent.
Historically the agricultural sector has been required
to perform a number of roles, the main ones being: Providing
export earnings; creating employment opportunities; and pro-
viding food and fiber for domestic consumption.
The broadening national base, high rate of population
growth, currently estimated at 2.5 percent, and the improve-
ment in levels of living have created demands for more food
of better nutritional value. Meanwhile disincentives to
produce have resulted in a retreat toward subsistence agri-
culture. These factors have resulted in annual increases
in the quantities and values of food imports. Despite con-
tinued emphasis on the traditional export crops sugar,
bananas and citrus, in particular -'exports have continued
to decline in quantity and values. This is associated in
some instances with a decline in local production. In others,
particularly bananas, it is partly the result of increased
local consumption because of rising food prices among other
nutritious commodities. The result is that, whereas in the
past, Jamaica had a surplus trading balance in terms of agri-
cultural commodities the position is now one of deficit.
Many factors have contributed to the necessity to import
increasing quantities of food annually, as well as affecting
production for exports. Some of the major factors which limit
the agricultural sector's attainment of its potential are:
a) structural defects, particularly in relation
to the skewed distribution of land by size
groups of farms
b) use of the best grades of land almost exclusively
for production of export crops particularly
sugar cane with a record of nine years of
financial losses in both factory and field;
c) the rugged topography of agricultural land;
only about 20 percent is flat or gently rolling;
d) limitations caused by lack of water for irrigation
purposes and inadequacy of other infra-structures;
e) a growing disenchantment of many rural people
with agricultural pursuits.
Until recently (within the last two decades) Jamaican
agricultural policy, implicit or explicit, has emphasized
export agriculture to the relative exclusion of domestic
agriculture, except in the area of dairying and fishing.
Recent policy statements include references to the pro-
duction of export crops to the extent that suitable markets
are available. At the same time, for domestic agriculture
the emphasis must be on reducing food imports. It is by
implication and by examination of the composition of these
imports that a rationale for the improvement of domestic
agriculture finds some basis.
A. Purpose of Sector Assessment
Over the years Jamaica's agricultural policy has been
largely implicit in statements made and unrelated actions
taken at different times. In general, these have included
a number of uncoordinated activities usually based on
fostering commercially oriented export agriculture on one
hand and production for local consumption, the latter being
heavily subsidized, on the other. Often the policy, partic-
ularly in relation to its subsistence aspects, was based
on paternalistic and welfare considerations.
Many comments have been made on the resulting contradic-
tions and the weaknesses of Jamaica's agricultural de-
velopment policy. At the Development Planning Seminar
held by the Central Planning Unit in 1966, it was stated
"In previous agricultural development schemes,
confusion of social and development policies had
affected the economic viability of the schemes to
the extent that essential requirements for greater
production had not been met."
While consideration was given to certain aspects of
agricultural policy, it still is evident that the policy
has not been a coherent one. The mixed objectives, the
emphasis on welfare concepts and on individual schemes with
heavy elements of loans, grants, and subsidies, all contrib-
uted to the present confused state of the agricultural
sector. A major policy concern which has only been treated
peripherally relates to the entire structure and organization
of agriculture; beginning at the Ministerial level. Sociol-
ogical aspects have been taken into consideration but it is
clear that much more information is required not only to
quantify the extent of certain policy defects but also to
determine factors which must be taken into account in the
overall policy framework for agricultural development.
With the change in Government -in February 1972, the new
Government, accorded a high priority to the agricultural
sector specifically to ensure maximum utilization of total
resources of land, people and capital involved in agriculture.
It is essential that an assessment of the agricultural
sector be undertaken to determine the magnitude of policy
and institutional changes and investment increases, to point
up conflicts between maximizing national agricultural out-
put and maximizing incomes, income distribution and welfare,
and to determine how the agricultural sector may best fulfill
its role. Such a sector assessment likewise is necessary
as a takeoff in a continuing and constant process of program
planning, implementation and re-evaluation.
The methodology used in this assessment is that of pro-
fessional judgments and intuitive reasoning, utilizing
historical experiences and available data and information
from many sources in a practical and systematic manner to
arrive at reasonable conclusions. Absence of sufficient
acceptable data, particularly as applied to individual farms
as well as inputs and costs of production, is a strongly
limiting factor on the use of more sophisticated techniques
The broadening of the Jamaican economic base and the con-
tinuing decrease in the percentage contribution of the agri-
cultural sector to G.D.P. using the usual economic indicators,
suggest that the sector is ailing.* This conclusion must
be examined against the roles which the sector ha# been
required to play and which perhaps it should play' For
example, it is illogical that progress of Jamaican p4ricul-
ture, which is used so heavily as a sop for labor (largely
unskilled) should be entirely measured by the economic
viability yardsticks normally applied in assessing other
The following assessment thus begins with an evaluation
of the performance of the sector. It measures this against
the goals now set for the sector by the Governmeit. It
moves to a description of the nation's resources. It then
examines the institutional and policy charges and major
investments needed to overcome thp constraints facing the
sector to enable it to reach the goals set forth,.
C. Brief Summary of Available Analytical Efforts
Although studies approaching agricultural sectoral
assessments have been made on several occasions, most have
been project oriented. They have provided a usefgu basis
for evaluating project proposals and to some ext a the
interrelationship among a number of projects. T have not
generally examined alternative choices and trade s on the
implications of the recommendations on other segments of
the agricultural economy.
In 1972, the Jamaican Government undertook a study of
the agricultural sector. Several subsectors were identified
and teams appointed to prepare assessments thereof These
have been invaluable sources for this assessment. The closest
approximation to a true agricultural sector assessment was
undertaken by the FAO-UNDP mission in the summer o 1974.
The preliminary draft of the first part of this st3dy entitled
"Agrarian Reorganization and Rural Development for 7amaica,
July September 1974," indicates a sectoral approah, with
primary emphasis on the small farmer segment of the nation's
This attention to the sector approach is encouraging as
a means of enabling the nation to obtain the best possible
use of its resources.
*In 1974 Agriculture's contribution to the GDP was 6.2 percent,
a decrease of .5 percent from 1973.
III. PERFORMANCE OF THE AGRICULTURAL SECTOR
Successive governments have recognized the structural
disabilities associated with the agricultural sector and
have accorded high priority to the small-farming area by
major allocations of public capital expenditure. In evalu-
ating the implementation and performance of the Independence
Plan 1963-68, the UNDP Mission tried to identify the roles
expected of the agricultural sector. The Report stated:
"In much of this first five-year period, emphasis
will be placed on the provision of economic, social
and cultural services mainly for the benefit of
those sectors of the community where the need is
greatest and where the demand for improvement has
been reflected in discontent and unrest over the
years. This will be particularly directed towards
the rural agricultural economy in a determined
effort to reduce rural migration to over-crowded
towns. This means that there will be less than
full concentration on rapid economic growth."
Any assessment of the past performance of an agricul-
tural sector should take into account the role the sector
has been expected to perform. The G.D.P. has customarily
been used as the basis for assessing how well the sector
has performed. While useful, it is certainly insufficient
given the roles assigned to the Jamaican sector.
This assessment proposes to consider the roles and
where possible to quantify performance for each:
(a) Providing food for the nation;
(b) providing export earnings;
(c) providing work for the population;
(d) providing capital formation.
Because of factors associated with changes in the methodology
applied overtime, data for the most part will be evaluated
for the period dating back to 1959.
In order adequately to examine the performance of the
Agricultural Sector a look at the nutritional picture in
Jamaica is necessary. Each of the four sections listed above
for assessment is directly or indirectly affected by the
nutritional status of Jamaicans and by the supply, availability
and prices of food in Jamaica. Therefore, to establish
the context of the overall assessment prior to considering
these four areas, a brief review of the nutritional require-
ments and shortfalls of the nation follows.
Developed countries normally plan to maintain a food
supply well in excess of requirements to overcome the effects
of losses from spoilage, damage, etc., and to help balance
the unequal distribution among the various income groups.
While it is not possible completely to overcome losses they
may be significantly reduced by adequate storage facilities,
efficient marketing systems and education and information
campaigns directed at prevention of institutional and home
loss of food. In turn, reduction of losses will reduce the
surplus required. The Nutrition Advisory Council, for the
purpose of determining food production requirements, has
established a 50 percent surplus over dietary needs for en-
ergy (calorie) and protein stocks. In view of the uncertainty
of world food supplies much of the food stuffs to be locally
consumed must be locally produced. Not only will this result
in a more effective, nutritional situation in Jamaica, but
it will provide a firm impetus to the economy by reducing the
quantities of food commodities required to be imported and
thus the expenditure of foreign exchange, providing addition-
al employment and increasing the amount of money flowing
through the national economy.
The current situation:
In 1975 the population of Jamaica is approximately two
million. It is hetergenous with respect to income, health,
nutrient intake, employment work output, age, sex and other
factors. Since food consumption and thus nutritional status
are related to some of these factor, it is necessary to
separate the population into groups which exhibit certain
similarities and which therefore may be treated by common
measures. It is most important that nutritionally vulnerable
groups be identified.
The first basis for assessing such groups is age: chil-
dren (of various ages), adults and old people. Among the
adults, it is useful to identify the women on whom falls the
responsibility of bearing and nourishing babies. It is also
necessary to distinguish between the employed and unemployed
adults, and between the working adults who engage in heavy
manual work and those in physically less demanding employment.
Fi, i1l,', it is useful, to id-,ntify those auid~ and destitute
person w,'i, may be in need of special assistance.
Table No. 1 Persons in Significant Groups
The 'o lowing 1973 estimates provide an indication of
the relativr- number of persons in certain operationally
0 -' 5 years
6 15 years
Pregnant and lactating mothers 63,000
Heavy laborers 250,000
Persons over 70 years of age 61,000
Paupers and indigents 16,000
Other adults 535,000
Total (1973 estimate) 2,003,000
1. Nutritional Status:
The nutritional status of Jamaicans
summarized as follows:
may be briefly
a. About one-fifth or 50,000 children under four
years of age are significantly underweight for their
age. These children are disadvantaged before they
start to school.
b. About three percent of children in the second
year of life are so severely malnourished as to
re-u-ire urgent treatment. This treatment may only
be saving children who may already have suffered
irreversibly mental and physical retardation.
Hospitalization costs for these children has been
estimated at $3 million per year.
c. Mortality among 1 4 year olds is 4.5 per 1,000
twice that of Barbados, Puerto Rico, and Trinidad
and Tobago and mainly is caused by malnutrition and
its associated diseases.
u. About 45 percent or 28,000 pregnant and
l]ctating women are anemic resulting in complica-
tions for mother and infant both at childbirth
e. Many children are going to school without
cIdequate breakfast and thus are unable to concentrate
and learn, so do not reach their full potential in
f. Weights and heights of school children of low
income families are significantly lower than those
of children from middle and upper income families.
this is due primarily to inadequate diets.
c. About 30 percent of pre-school and an undeter-
mined number of school children (probably at least
30 percent), for a total of 'about 225,000 do not
receive sufficient food energy and protein. It is
thus impossible for them to reach their full poten-
tial, either mentally or physically.
h. Adult agricultural workers during periods of
heavy labor suffer significant weight loss indicat-
ing deficient energy intake. One result is definitely
reduced productivity and income.
It is startling to note that in a demonstration rural
health project established in Jamaica in 1969, and still
being carried on and expanded in 1975, young child malnutri-
tion was found to be the principal cause of morbidity and
2. Food SuRplies:
Although statistics indicate more than adequate food
supplies are produced, the fantastically skewed distribution
dn! heavy losses between field and table result in a shortfall
of caloric intake of about 27 percent and protein intake of
14 percent :n the lower economic group which constitutes ap-
proximately percent (1,400,000) of the population. For
this group the most important sources of energy are sugar
(locally produced) and wheat flour and rice (imported). Their
protein foods are salt fish, flour and rice (all imported)
and locally produced corn and corn products such as cornmeal.
This skewed distribution results from two main
factors; (1) approximately 15 percent of the population
controls seventy-five to eighty percent of the nation's
we.Lth, id (?) the tourist industry, which demands the
high quality foods and can pay the price. This is further
accentu-'ted by the inefficient distribution system and
poor transportation facilities.
Table No. 2 Dietary Intakes
Recommended intakes of dietary energy and average
intakes of the poorest seventy percent of the Jamaican
population in all age groups, with estimated shortfalls.
AJ. groupp Recommended Average intake Estimated % of total
(years) intake poorest 70% Shortfall population
(calories) (calories) (calories) in age group
0 3(MF) 1360 1000 360 14.1
4 6(MF) 1830 1170 660 10.5
7 9(MF) 2190 1340 850 8.3
10 12(MF) 2475 1430 1045 7.8
13 15(M) 2900 1530 1370 3.7
(F) 2490 1620 870 3.7
16 19(M) 3070 1855 1215 3.6
(F) 2310 1570 740 3.6
20 49(M) 2925 2410 515 14.7
(F) 2145 1765 380 15.7
50 & up(M) 2550 2035 515 6.7
(F) 1870 1640 230 8.6
per person 2220 1635 585 100.0
.he above data were calculated from dietary surveys in 1960
in low in -ome families. The shortfall of 585 calories per
person pei ,ay for the 70 percent of the population in the
low income racket is substantiated by more recent data
obtained from the 1970 Household Expenditure Survey.
See Appendix Nutrition
1. t 1.11 0 Foou 1. 0 the Nationi
't il r ,iduction 'of agricultur,-l products (in:cudin,
i:orst i:r( fish) increased at a compounded average annual
growt:. :t.: of 4.9 percent between 1963 and 1972. Growth
for the tot-i economy over the same period was 9.3 percent
ann',ally. Agriculture's contribution to the ;ross Domestic
Product during the same period fell from 13.4 percent in
19( 3 to 9 percent in 1972. In terms of national importance,
ar; cuulture dropped from fourth to sixth.
<.( rate of production measured in terms of agriculture's
sha:- of G.D.P. at current values, increased during the 1962
to l)71 period by an average annual growth rate of 3.2 per-
cent. Compared with the population growth rate of 2.5 per-
cent and the increase in rate of real income per capital --
the two important indicators for changes in demand -- the
sector demonstrated poor performance in producing the necessary
food and raw materials. This was the more so in export agri-
culture, with a growth rate in 1962 to 1971 of only 0.3.
Domestic agriculture had 5.4 percent and livestock with 5.7
percent average annual growth rates.
The domestic agriculture growth came as a result of (1)
the large rise in output of root crops (probably a result
of increased acreage and, (2) an increase in broilers and
to a limited extent, pork.
The nutritional quality of the food produced for the
nation is equally important. Jamaica produces about 65 per-
cent of the total volume of food consumed locally, the re-
mainder coming from imports. The increase in the quantity
of foods of higher nutritional value demanded by the popula-
tion has been caused mainly by the increase in per capital
income and tourism, although educational programs in nutrition
have had srme influence. Imports of foods expressed as a
percentage cf total imports changed from 21.2 percent in
1963 to 14.0 percent in 1974; the change in value terms over
the same period had more than doubled. Food imports consisted
mainly of meLit and meat preparations, milk products, cereals
and fruits and vegetables. In addition there are substantial
imports of legumes. There is thus a definite gap in local
production where foods of higher nutritional value are con-
*Food imports in 1974 were 439.1 million pounds as compared
with 385.5 pounds in 1973, representing an increase of 13.9
The individual performance records for the major farm
products of Jamaica follow:
Sugar production over the past six years (1969
through 1974) has varied from a low of 360,000 tons
in 1969 to a high of 389,000 tons in 1971. The 1974
yield of 372,000 was about average. The potential
of 500,000 never has been approached. The causes:
declining cane yields, lower sugar content of cane,
labor conflicts, poor transportation, inefficient
milling and inferior cultural practices. Tonnage
per acre and sugar per ton of cane reaped have
continued to fall since 1970. As a result, Jamaica
has failed to meet its established quotas and to
benefit fully from higher world sugar prices in
recent years for production above quotas. Value of
sugar exports have more than doubled since 1970,
rising from $30.0 million to $74.4 million in 1974.
Banana production has fallen by one-third since 1966.
Although expert prices have climbed net earnings have
declined. During the past two or three years, Jamaicans
have consumed more bananas than they exported, with
exports falling from 127,000 tons in 1972 to 72,000
in 1974. Production performance for citrus, cocoa
and coffee has been sluggish.
Note Table No. 3 on following page.
:.Al ) o oi
1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974
SuuCr ('000 tons) 445
Bananas* ('000 tons) 153
Citrus** (00O tons) 1404
Pimento* (tons) 4210
Copra (short tons) 16735
Cocoa (tons) 2344
Coffee** (000 boxes) 207
Ginger* ('000 Ibs.) 673
Rum ('000 proof gal.) 2213
Molasses ('000 tons) 156
**Deliveries to Packaging and Processing Plants
Economic Survey Jamaica 1968-1974
***Lowest output by the coconut industry for the past 22 years.
Mostly caused by Lethal Yellowing but accentuated by droughts,
praedial larceny and local processing of crude coconut oil.
i The ;r)dtuction figures (Table No. 3) indicate tnat
betwor.n 196H and 1974 there has been either a decline or
onl, m.rn ir n~l increase in the output of the export crols.
The production of sugar, banana, citrus, copra and pimento
in particular has shown marked decreases.
Vegetable production to produce successive crops in
all seasons to supply city markets, has received only minimal
attention. Production of many of these crops is seasonal,
although often it need not be. Sweet potatoes, yams and
cassava are major domestic food crops. Yields per acre are
generally low. White potatoes have been grown (with imported
"seed") but acre yields are low. Food grain legumes (peas,
beans, etc.) that are important high protein foods, have
increased in volume of production in recent years, technol-
ogy is inferior and yields per acre are low. Thus, these
crops have not been produced in amounts needed nutritionally
to supplement the scarce and costly animal protein foods
(meat, milk, eggs, and fish).
Fruits, such as mango, avocado, papaya and a wide range
of other tropical fruits grow successfully; but they are
not being adequately exploited with improved varieties, better
agricultural practices or with marketing practices and pro-
Rice production has declined. Jamaica has the land and
climate to become self-sufficient in rice production, but
imported from the United States alone over $8 million worth
of rice in 1973.
Corn is not a major crop. Yields now range from 25 to
40 bushels per acre but could be doubled. Corn could be
raised on terraced hillsides as well as by replacing selected
export crop land which is not fulfilling yield requirements.
As an alternate crop, grain sorghum might replace corn where
rainfall is deficient.
Note: Table No. 4 on following page.
PRODUCTION 01 FOOD CROPS
Tot al iLeumes 6,466
Total Vegetables 42,374
Total Cereals 4,092
Total Fruits 2,422
Total Plantains 10,102
Total Condiments 1,654
Total Tubers (Roots) 112,523
37,885 34,359 48,841
93,832 93,956 133,942
Production of most of these crops
quantities in certain months and acute
is seasonal with fair
shortages in other
months. Most crops are usually in short supply in the summer
months, with fair to heavy quantities in other seasons. Gener-
ally, crop categories are produced in well-defined geographic
localities. Environmental conditions are largely responsible
for certain crops, for example, Irish Potato in Christiana,
Guys Hill and South Manchester, lettuce in Douglas Castle and
Cave Valley; as well as peanut and certain vegetables in St.
Elizabeth. However, traditional practice often is responsible
for the cropping pattern in other areas as can be seen with
Red Peas in the Buff Bay Valleys, Irish Potato in St. James
and parts of St. Elizabeth and Sweet Potato in St. Andrew.
In the latter case, the crops, from an agronomic point of view,
are not best suited for these areas.
In spite of the steady increase in production over the
years, Jamaica still suffers from under-production of most
of these crops. In fact, a number of crops have been produced
in such small quantities in relation to local demand that
virtually all have to be imported. Such crops include corn
and onions. Other crops, such as peanuts and red peas, al-
though produced in fairly large quantities, are imported in
equal or even larger quantities.
Beef raising has been in a relatively static con-
dition. The national herd has been stable at around
190,000 head. Meanwhile, importation of beef and beef
products continues to rise, especially that of better
quality to meet the tourist trade needs. Slaughter in
: 71 totaled about 55,000 head.
Jamaica's beef cattle industry began in the use of
c:att2e as draft animals on the sugar estates. When oxen
declined as a source of power on estates and sugar fell
somewhat from its position of dominance, these cattle
began to be raised for beef. They were animals of Zebu
breed which were hardy and adapted to the climate. In
the 1920's and 1930's cattle of many exotic breeds were
introduced from overseas. Considerable crossbreeding
followed to secure the most desirable attributes of both
groups -- the high productivity of the one and the hardi-
ness and adaptation of the other.
Three beef cattle breeds developed in Jamaica com-
prising the Jamaica Red, the Jamaica Brahman and the
Jamaica Black form, the reservoir from which stock for
present commercial production is drawn. Their potential
performance, in terms of productivity, under good manage-
ment conditions is similar to that of good commercial
cattle in temperate land.
However, this potential is rarely met--since under
prevailing management, calving percentage falls well
below the desired level of 85 percent and weaning weights
in many herds are of around 400 pounds. Many beef cattle
farms use little forage improvement practices.
A substantial proportion of beef cattle farms have
been inherited by the present owners who often do not
farm intensively. The state of the industry has been
such that these individuals have been able to continue
in business only because of their low capital indebtedness.
The somewhat scanty data indicate that beef production
in Jamaica is dominated by farmers with comparatively
large tracts of land, where the better quality beef is
produced. Beef is raised on sugar cane estates, banana
or coconut plantations, in addition to farms devoted
solely to cattle. Nevertheless, the influence of the
many small farms with two or three head on overall
production is significant, even though they generally
do not produce quality beef.
Beef farms are located primarily in the areas of
moderate to good rainfall, and production has been based
on grass--largely unimproved pastures. In the last five
years many on-farm feedlots for fattening and finishing
cattle have been developed. There are two types--semi-
intensive and intensive. In the former, the cattle are
offered a limited quantity of. a concentrated ration
consisting largely of locally available ingredients and
have access to grazing. In the latter, the animals are
housed and maintained in pens and fed forage and con-
centrates. The trend has been for each farmer to have
his own feedlot but in some instances, several have
combined to fatten their animals at a single location.
Concentrate feeds must be imported, which generally is
uneconomical because of controlled meat prices. As a
result beef imports have been growing.
Beef price controls which have been in effect since
1940 (except for two short periods -- June 1960 to March
1963 and January 1969 to September 1971) have contributed
to low returns on investments.
The low fertility in commercial herds, price controls,
undue dependence on imported feeds and the complete
absence of an organized marketing system, have all con-
tributed to the relatively static condition of the indus-
try, with increasing reliance on beef imports.
The pork industry in Jamaica is of comparatively
recent origin. Within the short period of 1958 and 1972
it has grown from primitive hog raising to a complex and
comparatively well organized industry. Traditionally,
pork was sold as fresh meat, with the bacon and other
processed products imported.
The national "quality" sow herd was estimated in 1972
at about 10,000 sows and 3,500 gilts. Quality is used
here in the context of improved breeding in contrast with
the nondescript hog population which traditionally was
raised in Jamaica. Current estimates are as low as 3,500
quality sows with the decrease attributed mostly to the
rapid ind strong increases in the prices of imported
Quality pigs have shown a continuous trend toward
an increasing share of the national hog slaughter since
1-67. They are processed into bacon, ham, and other
products such as sausage. One of the main problems are
inadequate abattoir facilities. This is true in all of
Jamaica's meat producing industry.
Production is concentrated in the larger hog produc-
tion units -- 11 percent of the farms with 1,000 more
sows account for 56 percent of all sows. The feed supply,
on which quality hog production is based, depends almost
entirely on imported ingredients (corn and protein).
Feed is supplied in the form of complete rations, mixed
in Jamaica by four U. S.-based feed companies. Current
high prices of imported feed are unfavorable for such
enterprises. However, a pork production industry attuned
to local feeds (plantain, reject bananas, unsaleable
root crops, etc.) may be viable if government (GOJ) policy
will permit pork prices to find free market levels.
Although there are several thousand sheep raised pri-
marily in the parishes of Manchester, St. Elizabeth and
St. Ann, and in other widely scattered localities, for
all practical purposes, there is no sheep industry in
Jamaica. In fact, South St. Elizabeth, where sheep have
been maintained in a subsistence system of agriculture,
as a source of organic manure for vegetable plots, is
the only place where there has been any real development
of sheep production.
Considerable amount of goats have been raised in
Jamaica over the years for the production of meat. There
has been sporadic interest in goats for milk production,
but there has never been any serious interest in establish-
ing a substantial goat milk and meat industry. However,
goats provide important milk sources for subsistence agri-
culture. Currently there is an estimated deficit of about
6 million pounds (about 240,000 carcasses) annually, based
on market and consumption data.
Government sought to improve the genetic quality
of animals available through the importation and use
of improved breeds and for many years rams of improved
breeding stood for service at Livestock Improvement
Centres. These breeds had been developed in their
country of origin primarily for milk production. The
dairy goat has, however, never gained commercial popular-
ity in Jamaican markets; instead goats have become a
popular source of meat in the Jamaican diet. "Curried
qoat" became a favorite Jamaican dish especially when
goat's flesh was cheap. In the last six years statistics
relating to annual slaughter of goats at recognized
abbattoirs reflect an apparent decline in goat production
(See Table No. 5). Parallel with this development has
been the purchase from overseas of an increasing amount
of chilled or frozen goat's flesh and mutton. Tradition-
ally, goats have been raised by small farmers and indi-
viduals without ownership of land. In fact the purchase
of a goat often has been used as a means of savings which
can be converted to cash in times of need.
Table No. 5
Statistics on Local Slaughter & Imports
*No. of goats 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974
"No. of goats
(Estimated 134,911 125,314 *N.A. N.A. N.A. N.A.
Lbs. (000)) '3,373) ( 3,133)
No. sheep 1,853 1,461 1,175 1,268 1,070 1,118
(Lbs. 000)) (56) (52) (60) (41) (40) (38)
(Lbs. (000)) (4,087) (5,140) (6,337) (7,417) (4,694)(4,790)
*Most goats are slaughtered on the farm by private individuals
and are not reported and thus are not recorded.
The poultry industry expanded sharply from 1962
to 1971. However both eggs and poultry meat showed a
decline in 1972, of 15 percent and 13 percent, respec-
tively. Poultry meat production increased 30 percent
in 1973 and 13 percent in 1974. Eggs increased 11 per-
cent and two percent in these years. The poultry in-
dustry is dependent on imported feed ingredients which
are formulated and mixed locally. Although the industry
is reported to be largely self-sufficient, it must con-
tinue to import necks and backs. The dependence on
imported feed makes the industry vulnerable to world feed
supplies and prices and current high prices for imported
feeds are putting severe pressure on poultry profits.
One marked result is the price of eggs which reached and
leveled out at J$1.25 per dozen in 1974 and 1975.
C. Providing Foreign Exchange Earnings
One of the Agricultural Sector's contributions is in the
area of balance of payments; to earn foreign exchange by
exports or save foreign exchange by import substitution.
Production of export crops, cheifly sugar, bananas and citrus,
showed significant decreases over this 10-year period. The
sector's poor performance especially of export agriculture,
indicates a weakening of the rold of agriculture's contribu-
tion to the balance of payments. In 1962, agricultural pro-
ducts constituted 41 percent of all domestic exports. In
1974, this share had fallen to 19 percent.
Net foreign trading in agriculture increased over the
period 1960 to 1962 to a very favorable position of J$32
million in 1963. Then it gradually declined reaching a nega-
tive position in 1968. The decline then quickened, showing
an adverse balance of J$28 million in 1973. The drop in the
value of exports was caused by unfavorable trading conditions
but also by low production.. As a consequence, when world
prices rose, Jamaica was not able to exploit these markets.
(See Crops Sugar).
Food imports increased in value at an average annual
rate of 10 percent during the period under review, rising
from J$32.4 million in 1962 to J$71.3 million in 1972. It
reached J$119.3 million in 1974. The sharp decrease in the
value of exports and increase in the value of imports indicate
that the agricultural sector has not maintained its level
of performance as an import net earner of foreign exchange
or in producing enough for local consumption to reduce reli-
incte on imports.
Because of the slow growth of its export earnings and
the higher cost of imported inputs especially feeds and
fertilizers, Jamaica is in a particularly difficult position
to cope with the sharp increases in prices of major imports,
in some cases ranging up to 400 percent. Foreign exchange
reserves fell in 1972 and 1973 and by January 1974, the
level of net international reserves was down to the equivalent
of four weeks' import requirements*
D. Providing Work for the Population
Agriculture employed in 1973 a labor force of 201,200
against 233,500 in 1960 -- despite considerable increase in
total labor force. The result is a high degree of unemploy-
ment and underemployment.
The migration of many, especially young, people out of
agriculture is the result of the low productivity of tradi-
tional agriculture, its esteem, and its limited income.
Productivity per worker, relatively speaking, is not improving.
In 1960, the real GDP per worker was J$762.2 in the total
economy, but only J$226.6 (29.7%) in agriculture. For 1971,
the figures were J$1147.5 and still only J$337.1 (29.4%).
The ratio was the same, although costs of agricultural pro-
ducts in the marketplace rose substantially.
Labor productivity in agriculture is less than one-third
of that for the entire labor force and per capital productivity
for Jamaica's agriculture historically has been lower than
most Latin American countries. In addition, productivity per
acre for most of Jamaica's agricultural crops is low. There
are several reasons including poor technology, lack of economic
incentives, misuse of land, etc.
A wide disparity exists between ,the average per capital
income of the labor force in agriculture and that of the total
employed labor force. For the latter the income was $1,700
in 1972 compared with about $500 per person employed in the
agricultural labor force; again, less than one-third of that
for the entire labor force.
E. Providing Capital Formation
Fixed capital formation in absolute terms ranged between
a low of $8.4 million in 1963 and a high of $21.7 million in
1974. In relative terms, capital formation in agriculture
expressed as a percentage of total capital formation has been
stated at 4.4 percent since 1968. This is less than
half the levels of the early and mid-1960's. The agri-
cultural item "Sugar, Rum and Molasses" is classified
under the Manufacturing Sector, but at the beginning of
the period under review the figure for it increased
from $1.9 million in 1962 to $4.9 million in 1966, then
declined. It has been rising since and in 1974 stood
at J$8.9 million. Table No. 7 shows fixed capital for-
mation and expenditures on agricultural machinery and
equipment over the period 1962 to 1974. It indicates
essentially no marked increase in annual expenditures
for machinery and equipment since the mid-1960's while
the growth rate for the total economy was 8.6 percent
It is obvious that non-monetary capital formation and
development of human capital in agriculture has lagged
'fable No. 7 Fixed Capital Formation
Years Fixed Capital Formation Agricultural
Agri- % of Machinery and
Total culture Total Equipment
($ million) ($m) ($m)
1962 98.2 10.3 10.5 2.3
1963 91.6 8.4 9.2 2.1
1964 111.8 14.4 12.9 6.9
1965 124.2 11.7 9.4 7.3
1966 146.0 13.0 8.9 4.2
1967 170.0 10.8 6.4 5.6
1968 221.4 9.8 4.4 4.4
1969 252.1 11.1 4.4 5.0
1970 265.9 11.7 4.4 5.1
1971 295.7 13.0 4.4 7.4
1972 293.4 12.9 4.4 7.4
1973 351.4 15.5 4.4 8.8
1974 494.0 21.7 4.4 12.4
IV. JAMAICA'S GOALS AND STRATEGY FOR AGRICULTURE
A. The Jamaican goals for rural development centered on agriculture
are stated as follows:
"The Government's philosophy for rural development is to
create the basic infrastructure which will provide rural people
with easy access to adequate housing, water, health, education,
as well as improved facilities for electricity, transportation and
communication. This will necessitate an integrated approach
to rural development planning for the provision of social facilities
Based on the above philosophy for rural development, the principal
goals for agricultural development policy are to:
1. Use to its fullest potential on a sustaining basis all agricultural
2. Improve the standards of living of the rural population which
implies both an increase in farm incomes and also the provision
of adequate infrastructure and social amenities.
3. Provide capital formation by a level of agricultural production
and marketing which will furnish an income level beyond that needed
for family living.
4. Produce and market food and raw materials for domestic
consumption at levels of efficiency which will permit reasonable
5. Recognize the interrelationship between agriculture and other
sectors of the economy, especially industry and tourism.
6. Provide agricultural products for industrial uses, exportation
and import substitution where economically feasible.
B. To attain these goals, the government strategy centers on
the perception of unused productive capacity in agriculture. This
failure to use fully productivity in Jamaica's agriculture sector
is rooted in underemployed, wrongly utilized and poorly managed
land and water resources, failure to employ the most appropriate
technology, lack of agricultural capital formation, inefficient
marketing channels for agricultural products and inputs and
inadequate incentives to producers. The capstone to this set of
constraints is the lack of coordinated planning at the national level,
with a commitment to the development of the agricultural sector,
as the sector struggles with a complex set of national programs,
some politically favored, often in conflict with one another, in its
attempt to attain national objectives.
These goals clearly point out that Jamaica, in its agricultural
and rural development aims at two different although intimately inter-
woven aspects. On one hand, the economic development of the nation
requires an overall increase in agricultural production, including
higher per unit productivity, in order to increase the contribution
of the agricultural sector to the development of the national economy.
This may only be "brought about by adaption of superior technology
and liquidation of disincentives. "
On the other hand, social justice and the involvement of the
total population in the development process call for organization of
agriculture in a manner which will share the fruits of such develop-
ment with all segments of the society. Access to resources for all
and more equal distribution of benefits from development are basic
requirements to reach these goals.
Agriculture in Jamaica now is being pressured to share an
excessive part of its returns in order to provide "cheap food" to the
urban sector in the form of regulated prices. The resulting lack of
economic incentive not only impedes development but drives the
sector back toward subsistence living. If landless poor people in cities
need food subsidies they should be provided through a government
financed undertaking, not solely a farmer-borne responsibility.
Jamaica's goals for agriculture and rural development cannot be
accomplished by a single subject matter approach, such as pure land
reform or mere improvement of the marketing system. What is
required is an integrated or "package" approach which considers
all the constraints to rural development, taking into account the
intimate interrelationship between the socio-political, technical and
economic factors in a system approach.
Usually, an increase in production sets the rural development
approach in motion, and an increase in resource productivity is the
first concern. Soon, however, the labor productivity of the agricultural
sector gains importance in a policy to raise family labor returns which
allows a living comparable to other sectors in the society. This
income will create a rising demand for consumer goods and services,
which in turn leads to an expansion of the relevant sectors of the economy
and an increasing demand for labor in nonagricultural sectors. By
proper measures, part of the income needs to be geared into savings
and capital formation which will lead to further increases in national
This process can take place only if a framework of institutions and
services suitable to the socio-economic circumstances and requirements
is available. The increasing differentiation and "scientification" of
agriculture as well as its integration into an interdependent economy
usually will require a reorganization of institutions and services.
Several facts must guide the strategy for policy formulation in
the agricultural sector. First, if optimum production levels are to be
reached and maintained, the economic policy means must be found which
will influence rational land use and ensure that all land attains its full
productive capacity. Second, investments in infrastructure and social
amenities must be made which will provide the basis for both optimum
production levels and an improved level of life in rural areas. Third,
attainment of the goals will depend upon the ability of all subsectors,
public and private, agricultural and agro-industrial, to perform their
functions efficiently with a minimum of overlap. This means institutional
changes and a reorientation of basic policies to meet the needs of and
incentives for a growing, modern agriculture. It will mean the re-
direction or elimination of some high cost activities now in the hands of
the government or autonomous boards in favor of indirect policy means
to achieve ends now being pursued directly by the government and boards.
I S n tii. struegy to ake flil eff:e t, certain conditions (secondary
ioala) will liave to be meant. The national program must have:
1. A transportation network to give more farmers easier access
t,, markets and inputs. (More and better farm to market roads.)
2. A widespread technical education of farmers in the skillful
management of scarce resources and development of various means
of communication which will keep farmers in constant touch with
3. Credit on time and in the amounts needed by all farm units
(and especially small farmers with potential for effective use of
4. Sufficient social facilities and amenities to enable rural people
to enjoy a standard of living which is conducive to a productive
5. A development of managerial responsibility and ability among
operators of individual farms so each can adjust the production
program of his farm to the peculiar and unique combination of
inputs, soil, climate, power, skills, financial situation, aptitude,
and market available to him.
6. Sufficient remuneration to the producer to make it economically
advantageous to him to produce; i.e., increased production must
improve his economic position.
7. Coordination of all measures for agricultural development
at the national and local levels; i. e., new technology must be
relevant to the local situation and development assistance must
function at the local level.
8. A public and private marketing system which increases efficiency
of operations, permits incentive prices, raises farm income and
serves consumers with improved quality products at reasonable
Jamaica's population in mid-1973 was 1, 958, 000 according to
the lnter-American Development Bank and density over 450 per square
mile. Overall growth rate for 1960-70 was 2.5 percent according to
FAO. 3y 1!980, the population is projected at 2, 173, 000. Annual birth
rate was :4. 6 percent in 1972 with a 7.2 mortality rate per 1,000.
Large scale migration, encouraged by the Jamaican Government,
in the past provided an answer to population pressure. Net emigration
between 1960 and 1970 has been estimated at 284,000. But new
immigration restrictions in various countries have reduced this alternative.
The National Family Planning Scheme has reduced the crude birth rate
from 38 per 1,000 in 1968 to 30. 5 in 1974 and with new policies in effect
should reduce the growth rate to 25 per 1,000 in 1977-78.
The 1960 population data indicated that 68 percent (about 1,100,000)
of the population was rural, a third of which were classified as non-farm
rural. This resulted in an extremely high density of population in some
rural areas, particularly the hill farming districts. Available data are
inadequate to permit a precise measure of outward migration from rural
areas, although all visual indications indicate it has been significant,
particularly to Kingston, Montego Bay and Spanish Town. The current
accepted estimate is that 65% of the population now is rural and with the
total increase, the rural population is about 1, 300, 000. Thus, rural
densities in some areas are farther extended.
For the nation as a whole, it is a "young" population, with about
65 percent being under 24 years of age in 1974. The rural areas tend to
have concentrations of the very young and the old as the young tend to
migrate as they reach working age.
\ s ;Illc parL of the population: has always livrdc in Kingston.
In the same v ar, 35 percent resided in Kingston or 13 other towns.
:l'lani',, iont and metropolitan living is increasing and by 1990, 50
pcj-i ,,e of all .Jamaicans are expected to live in towns. This forecast
expects. that the total population increase until 1990 will increase the
number of urban dwellers, while rural residents remain stagnant in
numberti, (National Physical Plan).
The Labor Force consisted in 1973 of 801, 200 persons, of
which 621, 600 actually were employed, while the remaining 22. 4 per-
cent (13. 4 percent of males and 33. 8 percent of female labor force)
were unemployed. More than a third of the employed labor force
(36. 6 percent) had an income of less than J$10 per week in October,
1973. (All figures from the Labor Force 1973, Department of
Statistics, Kingston 1974).
The sugar and banana industries together account for nearly
half of the hired labor force in agriculture. In spite of employment
opportunities for unskilled workers and the existence of many unskilled
unemployed, there is a definite shortage of these workers particularly
in the sugar and banana industries.
The main factors which contribute to the shortage of hired
labor in the agricultural sector include: the stigma which traditionally
attaches to agricultural labor, particularly for some of the more demand-
ing tasks such as clearing brush, weeding, cane harvest, carrying fruit
on their backs and fertilizing; low wages paid to agricultural workers
in comparison with wages paid in competing industries (per capital
income for agriculture in 1972 was less than a third the average for
the total labor force) and the seasonality of agricultural employment due
to the preponderance of one-cropping on the larger farms. The low wage
scales in agricultural employment further is exacerbated by the low
productivity of agricultural labor due to a number of factors including
scarcity of skills, and inadequate training facilities for providing lower-
The migration of the young generation out of agriculture has
influenced the age structure of the agricultural labor force. The average
age of farmers is over 50 years, and 13 percent of farmers are 65 years
and over. The same applies to agricultural laborers, and one commonly
sees laborers of 70 years, who continue working in absence of other
means of livelihood.
The q(n lity of the agricultural labor force is comparatively
low in skills. Training in agriculture is the exception rather than
the rule, except that on large estates management posts usually are
filled wji l; qualified personnel. A sizable part of the agricultural
laborers form the lowest strata of the national labor force. The
heavy icxt(crn;.l migration, mainly of qualified persons, is one important
reason. Immigration restrictions imposed by various countries
tend to be less stringent as immigrants' skills are greater. Lack of
incentive or requirements for skills is another.
A third is the general knowledge that the pay of small farmers
and agricultural workers does not equal that of the urban dweller.
The FAO found in its forestry study indications that many
hill farmers were market conscious even though their production for
the market was not large. Generally it may be said that subsistence
farmers in Jamaica have a fair degree of market consciousness.
Further, that they will respond to opportunities to increase net income.
However, most of their crops are perishable and holding them is
difficult. The small farmer usually needs the income from his crops
now. Finally, farm to market transportation is very poor. Thus,
small farmers often do not have the flexibility to use "market knowledge",
but must move the crop when the opportunity presents itself.
FAO also concluded that although hill farmers were prepared
to consider innovations, they were not strongly influenced by the usual
communications media or the written words, hence any techniques for
the introduction or improvement of crops have to be carefully prepared
to convince them to make any radical changes. It may be said that
innovations or "new crops" among farmers world-wide traditionally
are difficult. In Jamaica many farmers' actually are not skilled in crop
production :;nd are bound by tradition to certain methods. Also they
are suspicious of new crops. Normally it must be proved to them by
demonstration that the new crops or even new methods will be profitable
or will surpass the crops and methods of which they are knowledgeable.
The land area of Jamaica is approximately 2, 715,000 acres.
About 1,500, 000 are estimated as the total area in farms, of which
750, 000 are classified as Intensively Utilized, 225, 000 as Idle Lands
and 525, 000 are listed under Remainder, i. e., all land not suitable
for mor- int.u nsive use (lue to .slope, drainage, soil or other limiting
!ysid( i rs:. This last category includes barr'(n land, svuamps,
son;: ruinr .;(', natural woodland and grassland. Some of thjs catLtegury
is suitable rnd is used for natural pasture and forest.
There are three broad types of land areas in Jarn-ica:
a. interior mountain ranges, mostly comprised ;>f
exposed, weathered metamorphic and igneous rocks;
b. dissected limestone plateaus and hills -
about two-thirds of the land area is covered with
white limestone overlying yellow limestone; and
c. coastal plains and interior valleys which are down-
faulted !areas covered with loose alluvial and deltaic
The limestone-origin soils are not very fertile but are
responsive to good management. A combination of the factors of soil,
including drainage aspects, topography and climate forms a basis for
land capability classification.
Only about 20 percent of the land is flat, mainly along the coast,
or gently rolling. About half of the total area is over 1,000 feet altitude.
The land's topography has severe influence on the economic uses of
the different areas and their infrastructure.
Tabie No. 8
Slope Distribution of Total Area
Degree of Slope Percent of Total Area
0 2 7.7
2 5 8.3
5 10 12.8
10 20 16.5
20 30 26.8
above 30 25.0
unanalysed 2. 9
Source: Watershed Management and Soil Conservation
Activities in Jamaica, An Evaluation Report,
UN/FAO FO/SF/JAM 5, Techn. Rep. 9, 1973, p. 49
Another factor influencing the land use is the climate, which is
tropical in the low lands and moderate in higher altitudes. The
variation in temperature makes it possible to grow a wide range of
crops, subject to soil type constraints. While temperature allows
a year-round season in most parts, the rainfall is very unevenly
distributed. In the northern areas, rainfall is adequate, but in
the south and in the shadows of the mountains lack of sufficient
rainfall hinders agricultural production.
About ten percent of the land in farms is only suitable for forestry,
and a smaller percentage is sheer rock, thus reducing the amount of
land which can be used for agricultural purposes. Slope factors make
much of th( land prone to soil erosion, thereby restricting its use for
intensive cultivation. A considerable acreage is in unimproved
Much of Jamaica's land either is not used or is used below its
potential. So far, possibilities to improve the limited suitability of
that land which falls in Soil Classes II and III for more intensive agricul-
ture have not been greatly used. Less than 90, 000 acres are irrigated
although 140, 000 acres, possibly more, are considered capabie of
irrigation accordingg to existing plans. Much land is undrained. In some
cases drainage is not considered wise because of side effects which
may result in damage to related areas, however there are many areas
where drainage and reconstitution of the land could be
successful. Terracing also may be an important factor
in increasing available acreage. Unfortunately, what
terracinq is done in the hills often is of poor quality,
resulting in severe erosion, reducing the availability
and quality of the soil in the sloping and hilly areas
and silting the storage capacity of reservoirs.
Jamaica has long been regarded as ideal for cattle
production. The climate is mild-winter temperature vary-
ing from a low of 66 to a high of 82, and summer from 71
to 87 degrees. Topography suitable for grazing accounts
for about half of the country. Soil is a limiting factor
only where there is no depth or where the topography is
such that grazing would disturb the soil and cause
Grass agronomy is difficult only in arid areas with
free draining soils and without underground water, or
where there are soapy clays difficult to drain and are
Crops produced for export occupy the greatest portion
and the best of the lands in farms -- sugar cane, bananas
and citrus. Crops such as coffee, cocoa and pimento occupy
large areas, but in general they are not produced in pure
stand. Coconuts are produced largely for local use although
at one time coconuts were a major export. The present
problem causing great concern is that of lethal yellow
disease which is killing most of the older stands. Resistant
varieties are being planted. Improved pastures, root crops
and vegetables are the major crops for domestic use.
Table No. 9 Main Crops in Pure and Interplanted Stand
The main crops in pure and interplanted stand in 1970
were estimated as:
Sugar Cane 168,000 acres
Tree Crops 27,800
Ground provisions 18,200
In ,;d~:ion,, farms had livestock as follows:
Government plans include better utilization of the land. Intended
is a marked increase in production of foods for local consumption as
well as increased forests and improved pastures.
With the exception of the proposed acreage for Forest most
increases in crops and improved pasture will have to take place on
existing farms. Table No. 10 below, from the National Physical Plan
for Jamaica, was prepared from calculations by the UNDP, Agricultural
Census and the Land Development and Utilization Commission. It
reflects, in rounded figures, rough estimates of potential arable land
in farms in 1970. Table No. 11 and No. 12, which follow, project
uses of land in specific and general terms, respectively, for 1970/1975
and for 1970/1990.
Table No. 10
LAND UTILIZATION 1970
Total land area
Total area in farms
Idle Lands (estimated)
Sources and b.ses for estimates:
(a) Forest Inventory of Jamaica, UNDP Special Fund Project,
"Forestry Development and Watershed Management", January 1970.
(b) 1968 Agricultural Census of Jamaica.
(c) Acreages of existing crops from preceding Table
No. 10 less Forest which is mostly in Government
Forest Reserves and rounded to 750,000 acres.
(d) Acreage adjudged idle by LUDC for farms of 100
Acres and over ............. 99,000
Minus new utilization ............. 45,000
Leaving idle ............. 54,000
Plus assumed idle land on small farms.. 170,600*
Total idle land (rounded) ............. 225,000 acres
Double the percentage idle found on 100+ acre farms,
an estimate given by the Land Development &
(e) Includes all land not suitable for more intensive
use due to physical factors; slope, drainage, soil,
etc., and barren land, swamps, some ruinate, natural
woodland and grassland. Some is suitable and is being
used for natural pasture and forest.
The estimated 225,000 acres is sufficient to provide
for the 145,000 acres required to meet crop targets projected
for 1975 (not included is the 15,000 acre increase in Commer-
cial Forest). Two points must be kept in mind; (1) the idle
lands available may not suit the types of crops for which
increases are projected, and (2) if the targets are reached
and extended, the only solution will be increased productivity
per acre. (See Table No. 11)
The following Table No. 11 reflects, in terms of specific
crop acreages, agricultural land use for the 761,795 acres con-
sidered within the Intensively Utilized category for 1970, with
projected usage for 1975. It is to be noted that the principal
agricultural. export crop acreage, sugar, is planned to be reduced
by ten percent, almost 17,000 acres, and all other crop acreage
(except bananas) are to be increased for a total net increase of
160,000 acres. Selected Legumes and Vegetables, local consump-
tion items, are planned to be increased by almost 23,000 acres,
more than double that of 1970, to meet the increasing demand
and provide substitutes for foreign exchange expenditures. Many
agriculturists, both local and foreign, have lonn
estimated that at least ten percent of the farm jand
currently producing sugar should be moved to vegetables
for the sake of the Jamaican economy and health.
Improved Pasture is planned to be raised by 90,000
acres to accommodate the proposed, and much needed,
increase in livestock, both beef and dairy.
Table No. 11
Agricultural Projections 1970-1975 (Acres)
Other Tree Crops (1)
(1) Includes Pimento, Ackee, Mango, Avocado, Guava
Source: Unpublished 1970-75 Crop Zoning Report prepared
by Crops and Soils Division, the Agricultural
Planning Unit, and the Department of Forestry
of the Ministry of Agriculture and the UNDP
Forestry Management Project and the UNDP Physical
Planning Project. Many figures are estimates
pending further analysis.
The following Table No. 12 attempts to project tinh major
general changes in land use which might be expected over the
next twenty years, based on policies of:
a. Restricting urban intrusion onto good agricultural
b. Upgrading natural pasture and grassland where
c. Retaining all existing forest lands in protective
or productive forest and continued reforestation to
meet softwood demand for 100, 000 acres by 1990.
d. Retaining all swamp lands in their natural condition
as a general policy of hydrological and nature conservation.
However, recognizing that some swamp lands might be
suitable for growing rice and that, in some instances,
other selected areas may require reclamation to maximize
Table No. 12.
PROJECTED GROSS CHANGES IN LAND USE DISTRIBUTION
Other Woodland (including
Natural Range and
46.4 1,327,000 3
3.8 13,000 4
00.0 2, 715, 00(
Tht. following "notes" reflect broad-scale estimates of acreages
to be shifted from one category to another during the twenty-year
period. See preceding Table No. 12.
1. Gain of 17, 000 acres: 1,000 from marginal agricultural
land plus 16, 000 from "other woodland" re-assigned to
2. Reduced by 38, 000 acres: 16,000 re-assigned to
Forest and 22, 000 re-assigned to Urban Land.
3. Increased by a net gain of 69, 000 acres:
Add 80, 000 from Natural Range and Grassland for
conversion to Improved Pasture.
Less 10, 000 marginal land re-assigned to Urban Land,
Less 1, 000 marginal land re-assigned to Forest.
4. Reduced by 90, 000 acres: 10, 000 to Urban Land and
80, 000 to Agriculture for Improved Pasture.
5. Increased by 42, 000 acres: 10, 000 from Natural Range
and Grassland, 22, 000 from Qther Woodland and 10, 000
fr1cm Agriculture (marginal land).
Existing forests cover about 660, 000 acres, or 24 percent of
Jamaica's land area. Of this, 190, 000 acres consist of well stocked
broadleaved natural forest, and 460, 000 acres are classed as ruinatee"
or unstocked non-commercial forest. The Government owns 274,000
acres of which 19, 231 acres are in plantations. Much of the existing
natural forest is not readily available for exploitation because of its
vah:,; for '.va.iersl d protection, its proximity to established recrea-
tion ;,r'as, stcr'p and inacces.ihle terrain or the paucity of usuable
The experience gained by the Forest Department during
the last twenty years of plantation establishment, plus the various
studies carried out by the UNDP/FAO Forestry Development and
Watershed Management Project, have confirmed that forestry
development in Jamaica is both feasible and profitable using Caribbean
pire. This species has survived and grown well on sites less than
4, 500 feet elevation, between 200 400 slopes, having annual rainfall
of 50 160 inches, and having shale, lithosol, or deep "terra rossa"
soils. Growth and yield studies conducted by the UNDP/FAO Project
have confirmed that in 20 years, Caribbean pine will yield volumes
of wood ranging from a low of 4, 475 cubic feet per acre to a high of
5, 604 cubic feet per acre.
Large-scale expansion of forest plantations in Jamaica will
require lands that are now in private ownership, as well as those
owned by the Government. Government acquisition of the private
lands through purchase or lease is one alternative. Another the
encouragement of private landowners through the use of Government
incentives, such as technical assistance, free seedlings, and tax
concessions lor the production of marketable forest products.
The present yield of softwood timber from Forest Department
Plantations has been very limited and in 1972-73 was valued at only
US $40, 000. About one-quarter of the volume was estimated as
coniferous timber and only about 20 percent as logs, with the major
portion being utilized for sleepers, firewood, fence posts, rafters,
and yam sticks. The production of coniferous timber outside Govern-
ment plantations was negligible.
Although no reliable data is available for domestic production
of hardwood Limber from private lands, estimates derived from saw-
mill capacity and use indicate that it may range from 1.5 to 4. 5
million cubic feet per annum. Local production of fuelwood, yam sticks
and fence posts indicate an additional production of from 25 to 30 million
'!;ie fo.ret industrie-, now processing local wood consist
of 84 primitive sawmills and several small furniture and joinery
faior'ies. The sawmills usually operate on a part-time basis,
cutting hardwood sawlogs obtained from private property. Output
from the mills is in short lengths and is poorly sawn, due to poor
(quipiment and the absence of sawmilling skills. Extraction and
transport of logs from the forest to the sawmill is labor intensive
and devoid of modern equipment and techniques. Modern commercial
logging is not yet in evidence, except for the Skyline logging equip-
ment being tested by the UNDP Project.
Nearly 7, 000 acres of Caribbean pine trees planted by
the Government over the last 18 years will be ready for harvesting
in the next few years, and therefore a small portion of Jamaica's
total softwood demand will be met by domestic production.
Presently, all softwood imports came from Central America,
Canada and the United States, and this trend is likely to continue at
least until the early 1990's when Jamaica hopes to become self-
sufficient. Honduras is the main supplier, providing 63 percent of
the Jamaican softwood market in 1969, followed by Nicaragua and
Over the past ten years, the volume of imported softwood
lumber has risen from 31 million board feet in 1960 to 40 million
board feet in 1971, while the corresponding value has increased from U.S.
$3. 3 million to $5. 5 million in the same period.
The demand for softwood lumber, which is used mainly for
construction (although it has various other uses), is a function of
population and national income growth. In addition, increases in price
influences the demand for softwood. Unfortunately, reliable projec-
tions are difficult to obtain, however, some tentative demand projec-
tions, based on UNDP/FAO data, as well as current information,
have been developed.
The consumption of sawn wood for the period 1960 to 1971
grew at a rate of slightly less than 4%, but during 1967-69, construction
activity grew at an abnormally high rate. Taking this into account,
real growth is estimated at 3 percent per year. Assuming this Irend
continues the projected softwood demand and value of future imports
can he estimated as:
Table No. 13.
Projected Softwood Demand
(millions of US $)
Year Volume Value of Imoprts
1972 46 million board ft. 5.5
1985 60 million board ft. 11.4
1990 69 million board ft. 21.8
1995 80 million hoard ft. -0-
While a 20-year demand forecast is subject to varying
assumptions with differing interpretations, it can be stated with a
fair degree of certainty that a high demand for wood will continue
to prevail for the foreseeable future. It is also true that the supplies
of softwood currently available to Jamaica from Central America
have diminished and appear to be even less reliable sources in the
future. Further, a sustained future supply of equal quality,
domestically produced Caribbean pine would be fully utilized in
Timber importers who have shown a deep interest in develop-
ing the capacity for harvesting and processing Caribbean pine, are
expected to help in production plans in order to be assured of an
adequate supply on a sustained basis.
In view of the foregoing projections, the GOJ has sought and
obtained USAID financing in the amount of US $4. 4 million to undertake
expansion of its softwood timber resources and strengthening of the
Forest Department over a three year period.
Recreation potential exists for much of the government's
natural forests. Also watershed management becomes important in
rationalizing land use in the hill country of Jamaica, especi: lly itn rosion,
control and improving hill farming.
Jamaica averages 77 inches annual rainfall, thus there
are many springs and rivers. Since the rainfall is not well
distributed over time there are definite wet and dry seasons in
some areas. Highest rainfall is in the northeastern section with
corresponding rain-shadow effects to the southwest. Despite heavy
rainfall, there are extensive areas in the central and western
part of the island that are dry on the surface because of the under-
lying permeable limestone. Three irrigation projects now serve
the rain-shadow areas between Spanish Town and Toll Gate. Water
from these projects is subsidized by the government.
The northwest has surface water surplus, but large invest-
ments in dams and pipes would be needed to permit effective use.
Generally speaking, well irrigation offers the most practical source
of supply for much of the country. The local availability varies
greatly and its potential is not fully known.
Practical development will generally be from surface
drainage in the eastern section and underground sources in the
remainder except for areas near the large rivers of Martha Brae
and the Rio Minho.
Four major areas offer significant new additional irrigation
a. The Pedro Plains, a sub-area of the Black River
Basin, which consists of approximately 6, 000 acres
considered of satisfactory soil type for irrigation.
'Present land use is predominantly.grasslands with
vegetables, field and tree crops and degraded lands
occupying the remainder.
Annual rainfall in this region averages 35 inches
with a marked dry season from late November to late
March. Hydrologic studies indicate that sufficient ground
water is available to meet the irrigation requirements
'f handled scientifically. However, the ground vwiter
that can be utilized safely over probable demrna.!l is
marginal. In addition, since the land is low and the
water table near sea level, development of this resource
should proceed under technical supervision and there
must be a monitoring network as a precaution against
sea water intrusion.
The irregular topography probably would require
sprinkler irrigation. This irrigation scheme would need
to be supported by improvements in farm practices through
better soil management, adequate plant protection
facilities, more use of fertilizers and better seeds.
For the flat lands with alluvial soils, vegetables
were recommended, field crops on slopes of 2-5 degrees,
improved pangola pastures for slopes of 5-10 degrees,
while lands with slopes above 10 degrees were not
considered for irrigation. There is the possibility of
terracing these sharper slopes to bring more land under
irrigation and cultivation.
1). The Martha Brae Valley varies in elevations from 15
feet above sea level at Falmouth to more than 350 f'eet
above sea level. Soils and land capability investigations
indicated that there are approximately 12, 000 gross
irrigable acres of which 8, 650 are net irrigable acres.
This area lies in the rainfall zone receiving about 60 inches
Clay and clay loam soils form the dominant group in
the valley and occur throughout about 75 percent of the total
irrigable area. These soils have moderate to slow permeability
and slow to moderate internal drainage but with ample surface
drainage. They are expected to be highly productive with
good farm management practices.
Sugar cane occupies 75 percent of the area,
pasture 19 percent and the remainder is in small-
scale production of grains, vegetables and tree
crops. Livestock enterprises are successful but
the potential is not fully exploited. The agro-
economic survey conducted in 1967 showed that
37 percent of the farms were less than 5 acres;
91 percent of the farms were less than 25 acres;
while only 4.6 percent of the farms were more than
50 acres, these represented 54 percent of the land
Because of the undulating topography, sprinkler
irrigation also has been recommended for this project
area. The design of the sprinkler irrigation system
has been completed, with the area divided into nine
zones. There is no limitation on availability of
water in this area, in spite of the large surface
run-off from the Martha Brae River.
The project would get its water from ground
water. For this irrigation project to be successful
it would be necessary to improve existing farming
practices to increase crop yields. Such practices
would involve: soil management such as erosion
control; use of fertilizers; use of improved
implements and machinery; better plant protection;
crop storage and agriculture research, particularly
c. The Clarendon Plains now has 50,000 acres, under
irrigation. It is possible to increase the irrigated
acreage by 17,100 acres. Also, the 50,000 acres now
irrigated suffer from inadequate water supply and
inefficient irrigation. The present water supply
is mostly ground water and is estimated to be adequate
for 48,500 acres if the efficiency in water use can
d. The Rio Cobre Basin also is a highly developed
agricultural area. Of a total of 450 square miles, the net
irrigable acreage amounts to 50,000 acres of which 34,000
acres are presently irrigated. Sugar cane and pastures are
the principal crops. There has already been a
considerable development of ground water in the basin.
Well capacity in general is large. Another large source
of irrigation water is the surface diversion of the Rio
Cobre at Headworks.
The development of this basin entails a slight reduc-
tion in the present sugar cane acreage, with a substantial
increase in pastures, and increases in tobacco, vegetables
and citrus. The new irrigation proposals are heavily
oriented towards better water management. Some of
the points emphasized are: irrigation efficiency needs
to be improved from the present 40 percent to 60 percent
by improved irrigation and farming practices; canal
systems should be designed so that distances are as short
as possible; canals should be lined and semi-automatic controls
provided; intensive institutional programs should be under-
taken in operation and maintenance of irrigation water supply;
management of land and water resources; water users
education through extension services; and short courses
for professional improvement of local irrigation staff.
The future consumption of water will be influenced not only by
growing demands for irrigation water, metropolitan and industrial
supplies, but by increasing population and rising standards of living
throughout the country.
Until recently the development of large-scale water supply has
been related largely to irrigation needs. Economic development is now
tending towards an accelerated rate of industrialization, and on a
larger scale than before. Together with increasing urbanization
the effect is not only to promote a rapid increase in water demand
locally, but also to generate competition with the agricultural sector
for available resources.
The crux of the water resources problem in Jamaica arises from
the distribution of water in location and in time; for the most part
the abundant sources of water are in areas where demand is least,
and over much of the island the rainfall, and hence run-off, is strongly
seasonal. The situation has already produced urgent regional problems,
particularly in the southeast.
Solutions to the problem may be sought along two main
lines: more comprehensive planning in thit development and
utilization of natural water resources and higher levels of
efficiency in the current use of available supplies. Methods
meriting serious attention are the re-use of water and
improved irrigation efficiency. It has to be recognized
that sound water resources planning is heavily dependent
on the provision of reliable basic data on stream-flow regimes
and the various parameters controlling the occurrence and
availability of groundwater. This then will require continued
research and careful examination and correlation of the
research and feasibility studies already completed.
5. Fish Offshore:
Although the Caribbean Sea is not rich in fish resources,
Jamaica is near to moderately productive fishing banks suited for
exploitation. These banks include the shelf off Nicaragua and Honduras
in Central America, and the Rosalind, Bajo Nuevo, Serrana,
Serranilla, Roncador, Quito Sueno, Misteriosa and Silver Banks
that have so far not been intensively exploited. The more distant
Grand Bahama and Campeche and the nearer Pedro and Morant Banks
are still not fully used by Jamaican fishermen. Little has been under-
taken thus far to exploit a considerable inland fisheries potential.
Increased deep-sea fish production has been limited by the shortage
of skilled people needed to operate deep-sea fishing boats, the inadequate
channeling of capital into the industry and the absence of a fishing port
to serve the deep-sea fishing fleet.
In addition to the popular species of fish used by Jamaicans,
high-priced species such as red snappers and shrimps are also to be
found on the Central American Banks at present being exploited by
U. S. fishermen and lobsters on the Grand Bahama Banks.
The fishing industry of Jamaica is based on the operation of
about 3, 000 dug-out canoes of which about two-thirds have been mechanized
with outboard motors. In addition there are about 30 larger fishing craft
either operating as carriers, i. e., transporting fish from outlying cays,
or as fishing boats carrying out actual fishing operations on banks
in both local and international waters. More than 7, 000 fishermen
are employed directly in fishing; and when fish vendors and the
families of the fishermen and fish vendors are taken into account,
it is estimated that the Fishing Industry is the source of support of
approximately 60, 000 people.
The fishermen operating from the mainland are based on
160/165 fishing beaches of varying sizes around the coast of Jamaica.
The fishermen use mainly the local and traditional fish pots, hook
and lines and nets of various types. Because the sea-floor of the
fishing grounds of the Caribbean is mainly coral and/or rock,
fishing methods such as trawling cannot be used and the types of
gear used by Jamaican fishermen probably are the most efficient
considering the type of bottom in this area. Capital invested in
the inshore fisheries canoes, engines, fish pots, lines, nets,
etc., is estimated at $3 million.
The 30 larger vessels operate mainly from the offshore
cays, both local and foreign. In this system of operation a number
of fishermen with dug-out canoes are based on the cays and the large
vessels carry food, fuel, water and other supplies to them. In return
the vessels receive fish which they are transport and sell in the
metropolitan areas. Some of these carrier vessels, in addition to a
smaller number of deep-sea fishing vessels, fish independently of the
cays fishermen, catching high-quality fish and transporting them to
the local markets. However, insofar as the carrier vessels are
concerned, production is still based on motorized canoes, i.e., the
unit of production is a motorized canoe operating from an offshore
cay rather than from a mainland beach.
Existing facilities are inadequate to serve the deep-sea fishing
fleet. A Fishing Port Complex with facilities for berthing, efficient
handling of fish distribution and accommodation for trucks is an
essential feature of the proposed expansion of the industry.
Many of the larger vessels are based in Kingston. Until recently
they operated out of Zero Wharf; a squalid and totally unsuitable base
of operations. Built in 1956 when only two or three deep-sea vessels
were operating it finally was serving nearly 30 boats. For years this
stood as one of the bottlenecks to fisheries development in
Jamaica. Early in 1975, the navigable area shrunk because
of fills adjacent reclamation projects and service facilities
became so limited it was necessary to shift the operational
base. Presently Pier #2 is being used by all but two or
three of the small craft which cannot be accommodated because
of their small size and still use Zero Wharf. In the mean-
time a proposal has been advanced and plans for a complete,
deep-sea vessel fishing facility designed. It is understood
that a feasibility study is underway and a site is being
Recently completed for the approximately 120 fishing
canoes based in Kingston harbor is the Rae Town Deep Sea Fish-
ing Complex. This facility will provide complete service
accommodations for the small, professional, local fishermen.
Included are beaching facilities for canoes, a fuel pump
station, gear houses for storage of equipment, fish cleaning
facilities, equipment shed for repairing nets and other gear,
a sanitation block,an administration building and a cafe-
teria. This Complex is designed to meet the requirements of
the three fleets of canoes of Kingston harbor; Rae Town,
Fleet Street and Waterlane. It will be administredby the
Rae Town Fishermen's Cooperative.
A number of ice factories are required both in Kingston
and areas along the coast to supply ice to the fishing indus-
try. In times of temporary glut of fish, space sometimes is
sought at the cold storage facilities available in Kingston.
However, these facilities very often are fully utilized and
unable to serve all the fishing industry's needs.
It will be necessary to settle the problem of access-
ibility to areas of Central America and to obtain concessions
through diplomatic channels for Jamaican fishermen to operate
in waters now regarded as Territorial. Honduras, Nicaragua,
Colombia, the Bahamas and Venezuela have strict laws pertain-
ing to fishing within their territorial waters. The recent
United Nations Law of the Sea Conference was unable to clarify
this situation.' At the same time, the program being carried
out with the assistance of UNDP, aimed at making both inshore
and offshore fishermen more efficient will need to be extended
to provide the necessary skills, capital and infrastructure and
improved marketing arrangements to stimulate deep-sea n.-vr:,,-
6. Fish and Shrimp Farming:
Research and some practical application in the fr',.n-
water fisheries and shrimp raising industry has been carried ',
to some degree since 1950. The Fisheries Division of the \li i.-r'.
of Agriculture has on file over 700 ponds and lakes (total e-timrr:jt-'
acreage 3, 500) which have been stocked and serviced by fisne; i. -
officers. There is one experiment station which supplies th1 f Ige'r -
lings. So far the program has not been particularly successful.
Few of the ponds are constructed properly for the purpose and trvei,
less have been managed scientifically. The resulting production
does not measure up to the standards which seem probable.
Only one shrimp farm exists on the island and the operators,
who are experienced, have had many problems. They still belie v
successful shrimp farming in Jamaica is possible. However it
appears that several more years of operation will be required before
it is determined if successful shrimp farming is likely in .Tam;iica.
There are, however, real possibilities of sluccfs. ; ul I sh
raising. The need is to create a viable freshwater fi:;1 u, pI ilhi.u:;try
to improve the nutritious content of the indigenous Jamraic;n:l dlit, Cto
assist the local economy and to help reduce the outflow of lor-ign
exchange. Of the estimated 38 million pounds of fish consul d.i in
Jamaica in 1973, only five million came from Jamaica's fresh water.
Yet fresh water fish are readily acceptable in the Jamaican -iet.
The 1973 importation costs for fish were J$14. 5 million as compared
to J$8. 6 million in 1970.
Specifically, what is required is the creation of institutional
capability and technical expertise to design and implement a fresh-
water fisheries program involving research, experimentation, fish
farm development, storage, processing, distribution and marketing.
7. Animal -HalJ th:
HleaLthy a:. ima l are essenria to nim.xiniium prodJ .'t,. Ai
animal proteins. Animal diseases and parasites constitute
drainage of nationri1 resources and a limit to the ability o' t:;,
country to reduce imports of meat, milk, poultry and an::
feeds. Of major importance are tick infestation and aso, -.: t'.
blood parasite diseases in cattle, screw worm infestation ;,
cattle, pneumonia of swine, newcastle disease in poultry and
many other infestations and diseases peculiar to cattle, huc;s aid
Further losses result from the contamination of 'the'-
wise healthy, sound and wholesome carcasses by flies, rodents,
ingesta and excreta at the tim, of slaughter due to the lack of
modern abattoirs, proper butchering methods and adequate meat
Still further, waste of animal food by-products and offal
takes place for want of meat and blood rendering facilities, handling
and processing facilities and hide damage from ticks, brands,
mutilations and spoilage. Estimated losses in the United States
by 1961 would have been US $1 billion annually from tick inlestation
and its related diseases and damage if a successful eradication
program had not been carried out. Based on the same considerations,
Jamaica's losses could be over J$6 million annually in leather goods,
and as the result of blood loss and disease. Add this to the losses
being incurred as the result of other infestations and diseases, not
only to cattle but to hogs and poultry and the seriousness of the
problem is apparent.
Control in this field will require firm action by the Govern-
ment with full cooperation by the agricultural industry. Veterinary
services are a prime consideration in attacking the problem.
Unfortunately, veterinary manpower in Jamaica has increased slowly
and not sufficiently to meet present requirements. Governriilnt
Veterinary Officers, located in the parishes, spend about 80 p,1-rcent
of their time on private activities. As a result authorized governmIent
veterinary service programs (herd fertility and herd health) have notI
See Appendix Animal Health.
proceeded as planned. Add t(, this the vaLcanci' s in the ( ,' rii: :;;
fir cqu;lilfied ;tervinarians and it is certain that :;.vaiJ i .l : 1, .'
iU f nlot .;dcquat to maintain present animal htaith stauti('i.:rJ, ''
alone( nj:ike( imprlove-.-:in.nts or cope with increasing demands. The
need f':r additional veterinarians plus a large number of animal
health assistants (technicians) to complement the veterina ria-ns
is vital if adequate control is to be achieved.
Herd fertility and herd health programs have not in )ved
at an acceptable pace. If livestock numbers are to be incream.d by
two or three times, importation of cattle will be required. This is
a probability if planned integrated livestock projects are to be carried
out. Maintaining the health of large numbers of imported cattle will
be more than the present system can manage and, if exotic disease
outbreaks should occur they could not be controlled.
In 1971 the Jamaican government invested almost J$. 5
million to construct and equip a new, modern laboratory for aniinal
diseases. However, neither viral disease diagnosis can be made,
nor is an isolation unit available to handle potentially dangerous
material. Also no animal test rooms are available to confirm disease
conditions. Even so, there are qualified veterinarians assigned
and good work is being carried out. Nevertheless, the need exists
for these additional facilities.
Some infectious diseases of cattle which presently have an
apparent low prevalence in Jamaica will be transmitted more rapidly
with the planned increase in livestock. More livestock will be maintained
in closer proxlnimty and more movement will occur among farrns. This
will require c ,ntinued and increased control measures in the fields of
animal disease and infestation.
a. Observations and Recommendations
In the Ministerial meetings in 1973 the review team
considering Veterinary Services submitted the following
general observations and recommendations:
(1) Provisions for preventive medicine in the agricultural
field are inadequate.
(2) There are not sufficient veterinarians irn J:T:i,<. >
and more should be sent abroad for education and additinai
numbers of veterinary medicine graduates should b re-
cruited from abroad.
(3) Some of this shortage should be filled by Animal
Health Assistants. These could be trained (usually a two-
year course) in various institutions in the Caribbean. Guyana
offered to have such a school, as did Jamaica in the Inter-
Caribbean Conference on Education and Training of Animal
Health Assistants in Kingston, February 19-21, 1974.
(4) Jamaica needs a new Meat Inspection Law with enforced
and continuous inplant inspection by qualified veterinarians.
This should include prior approval of design and construction
of abattoirs. Meat inspection and related activities should be
transferred to the Veterinary Division, Ministry of Agricul-
(5) Quarantine station facilities should be improved.
(6) In addition to continued and increased disease and
infestation control activities, an island-wide emergency plan
should be developed to handle possible outbreaks of epidemic
(7) More emphasis must be placed on higher calving
percentages (herd fertility) and lower mortality in calf r- armng
It also has been strongly recommended that Government develop
long range programs for the eradication of Boophilus species ticks and
of screw worms. Tick fever not only reduces milk and beef production
in Jamaican cattle but is a serious menace to cattle imported to strengthen
and increase hetrds. Both of these very destructive parasites have been
eradicated in the United States with the exception of some activity along
the Maxican border. A successful eradication program was carried
out in Puerto Rico with the last tick having been iound on December 10,
1952. An equally successful screw worm eradication program on that
island appears to be very near its conclusion. Jamaica
has similar advantages to Puerto Rico in that it is an
island. Also, animal imports traditionally are limited
almost exclusively to countries that are tick and screw
B. Management and Operations
1. Management Units:
The Agricultural Census of 1968 recorded 185,483
farms. Sizes of these farms vary considerably and their
distribution is very unequal. The overwhelming majority
are very small. Farms smaller than five acres represent
78 percent of the number of farms and account for only
15 percent of the land in farming. In fact, 28 percent
are even below one acre. These small farms are for the
most part located on steep lands with less fertile soils
and many are too small to be economic units and thus
to generate satisfactory levels of income. The approximate-
ly 300 farms over 500 acres represent 0.15 percent of
the number of farms and account for an estimated 45 per-
cent of the land in farms. This land typically is on
the flat and fertile plains and mostly is devoted to sugar.
Table No. 14.
Number and Size of Farms 1968
Size Groups Number of Farms Acreage
acres number percent acre percent
5 144,605 78.0 233,818 14.9
5 25 36,881 19.9 333,548 22.1
25 100 3,004 1.6 125,104 8.3
100 500 699 0.4 148,501 9.9
above 500 295 '0.2 676,426 44.9
Total 185,484 100.0 1,507,397 100.0
Source: Census of Agriculture 1968
Data on land ownership distribution are not available. It is
probable that actual ownership is still more concentrated as one
owner may own land in different parishes. In the official census
land belonging to one owner is calculated as a separated farm in
The traditional agrarian structure in Jamaica imposes a
strict limitation to economic agricultural production, particularly
on farms of under five acres. The average small farmer, largely
because of the minute size and usually the location of his farm,
has a small income; his house is small and sub-standard and his
family generally is large. One usual result is that his children are
denied the opportunity of acquiring the type of education and training
to enable them to become productive workers, either on or off the
farm. When he dies, he is unable to bequeath economic units of
land to any of his children as he does not possess such a parcel of
land. Thus he leaves his children or some of them to subdivide
further the already uneconomic unit. Those children who remain
in turn tend to repeat their father's history.
Considerable differences in land use and cropping patterns
exist between different size groups caused by soil quality and sub-
sistence requirements. The big farms having the best land -
concentrate on export crops and livestock, while small farms on
poor ground and in the hills produce the bulk of crops for domestic
Table No. 15.
Distribution of Farms by MainSource of Income, 1968
Size Group Livestock Export Crop Other
acres (Percent) Crop
5 18.9 36.2 44.9
5 25 11.8 51.2 37.0
25 -100 26.6 45.7 27.7
100 -500 40.6 50.0 9.4
above -500 44.3 52.0 3.7
Source: Census of Agriculture 1968, Vol. III
Even though many farms are small and many people are landless,
a ccnsidrable amount of unused or underutilized land exists. It
frequently belongs to absentee owners and large holdings or is
government owned land. Quite often it is land not completely unused
but underutilized. A commission, after inspecting a representative
number of farms of 100 acres and over, declared not less than 27
percent of the active farm land in this size group as "idle" and asked
for development plans for these areas. This land was mostly of soil
classes III and IV. The majority of the owners cooperated so that
over 14, 000 acres were acquired by the government. The Ministry
of Agriculture indicates it believes that even more land is not fully
utilized among farms of less than 100 acres, especially where the owner
lives permanently in an urban area or has emigrated to another country.
Although there are no exact calculations the total amount of such land
The amount of capital used by Jamaican farm units varies;
usually, but not always, with the size of the farm. The estates are
highly capitalized, use modern machinery for production and maintain
a fairly high degree of capital expenditure. A considerable amount of
capital also exists for specific activities; i.e. irrigation, machinery,
In the small farm sector capital is very limited. Machinery
is almost absent and even handtools are few. Little capital is accumulated
by soil improvements such as terracing, drainage, etc., even though
they raise the value of the productive capacity of the land. The largest
capital asset of many small farms sometimes exists in the form of trees.
In recent years, the picture has become more diversified by
expansion of animal husbandry; requiring sheds, fences, milking machines,
etc., as well as the livestock and poultry enterprises. Improvement of
grassland is another form of increase in capital stock, but this is almost
entirely on the larger sized units.
The skewed capitalization of farms is obvious from the numbers
and types of equipment on the different sized units:
Table No. 16.
Farm Equipment in Size C(a s : i
Acres 5 5- 25 25-100 100-500 above 50C
No. of farms 144, 605 36, 881 3,004 699 29
No. of Trucks 269 296 200 289 564
Trailers 76 306 268 495 2, 639
Tractors 26 71 104 303 1,241
Tractorplough 36 59 60 197 443
Source: Census of Agriculture, 1968
In reality there is a dualistic agricultural sector in Jamaica,
the plantation and the small farming sector.
a. The plantation sector consists of large estates with specialized
production mainly for export. These often include in their vast tracts
of land, pieces which are less suitable for plantation agriculture and
thus often are underused. Plantations, because they were bought in
large blocks, usually occupy better land in the flat plains or on the
gentle slopes. Many are foreign owned or under foreign influence,
and at least the larger ones have well trained managers. Despite
their mechanization, they normally employ many laborers. Plantations
often are engaged in packing and processing their own products. Some-
times, they are part of a vertical integration system with processing
and distributing firms in other countries.
More recently increased costs and difficulty and expense
in getting labor has brought about organizational changes in the planta-
tion sector. Some shifted toward more' labor extensive agriculture
such as grazing of beef-cattle. Others reduced the a ea of labor
intensive crops especiallywhere not suitable for mechanization. The
higher level of expertise necessary in today's methods or production
and management invariably works to the disadvantage of the es ate
owner who may not have proper training in agriculture and who employs a
manager. Today, specialization is required in management: anc
generalization by second level management on plantr'i ns r' longer
b. The small farming sector consists of numerous small and
often tiny holdings, mainly in the hills. Farming is foi the i ultivating
family a way of life as well as a means to secure a livelihood.
Thus, production is primarily organized according to needs for
subsistence and only the surplus usually of subsistence crops -
The family members do the farming, often mostly the
women; occasionally with hired help. Little capital is used and
the quality of soil-management generally is poor. Thus, despite
high intensity of cropping per acre, labor productivity is low
and so is the income and living standard of the small farm family.
The small farming sector also has changed under the
influence of the social and economic development of the country.
Many of the 52, 273 farmers with less than one acre, as well as of
the 5, 100 so-called "landless farmers" (those owning a cow, two
pigs or goats, 12 chickens or 6 beehives) are not bona fide farmers
at all but are rural dwellers. They have their house, perhaps with
a larger garden in the rural area but their main activity is not in
agriculture. However, often the women of the family raise sufficient
produce to sell in the marketplace. It is estimated that a substantial
quantity enters the local markets from this source.
Expansion of non-agricultural work opportunities has led
to an increase in part-time farming. Working for others in non-
agricultural activities was the principal means of livelihood in:
55. 8 percent of farms below 1 acre,
24. 3 1 5 acres
13.7 5 10 acres
13.3 10 25 acres
and these part-time farmers cultivate more than 100, 000 acres.
Even the majority of those smallholders reporting farming
as their main means of livelihood invariably have some off-farm
income, either seasonal work during the harvest for others or working
in road construction or other part time employment.
Small scale farming in Jamaica is a mixed enterprise anc:
farmers split their labor between their farm work and other work
they can get to improve the family income. Depending on
circumstances, sometimes farm work and non-farm A ,rk is
divided among family members; the older generation manages
the farm while the younger family members try to get otherr employ-
Other small farmers, usually with over ten acres of good
land, have small commercial farms, cultivating cane, banana, or
other crops for local sale or spices and coffee for export. Others
take up broiler production. Commercial agriculture always requires
a vehicle to transport the produce and it often is uneconomical for
one farm so the farmer with a vehicle may transport for others as
a side business.
These developments do not conceal the fact that a large
number of small farms are still of the traditional type; subsistence
farms low in productivity and income. This is the type of farming
disliked by the young generation and sons of such farmers usually
try to leave the farm for better prospects.
Most of the land in farms is owned and operated on a free-
hold tenure basis. There exists some degree of tenanted land,
particularly to supplement owner-operated land. In addition there is
a sizable amount of illegal squatting on properties both publicly and
privately owned. Cultivation under conditions as insecure as squatting,
has a very exploitative character and often results in heavy erosion
as the squatters usually are only interested in the immediate profits.
Many land owners do not reside on the farm, especially in
the larger acreages. In 100 500 acre farms 19 percent of the
owners usually reside only weekends on the farm, while another 19
percent are absentee owners. In farms over 500 acres 17 percent
of the owners reside only from time to time on the farm and at least
38 percent are absentee owners. In farms above 200 acres the number
of absentees is compensated to some extent by the number of hired
managers. In farms between 25 and 200 acres, the number of
manak r's (including neighbors asked to "look over") is much
smaller than the number of absentees; this suggests poor manage-
A sizable part of the farm land is owned by a limited
number of foreign individuals or companies, usually in large estates.
In 1968, almost 12 percent of the farm acreage was classified as
foreign owned; this is about 180, 000 acres.
The amount of foreign owned land has been reduced since
1968 because of the government's purchase of some large estates.
On the other hand, the amount of land owned by foreigners probably
is larger than statistics suggest. The census counts only farms
controlled by foreign owners. It does not include as "foreign owned"
land which is owned by foreigners but farmed by Jamaicans as
tenants or not used as farmland. A sizable part of the 191, 000
acres owned in 1969 by bauxite companies was classified in this
Although there is overwhelming attachment to freehold
tenure, part ownership part tenancy also is significant. Both free-
hold and part tenancy have been associated with fragmentation in
relation to the subdivision of the land into small parcels and the
number of component parcels under the inheritance laws.
There are many laws on the statue books which affect tenure
and there has been a tendency for these laws to proliferate. Applica-
tion of these laws has been largely persuasive and although compulsory
powers were provided it would appear that they were enacted to
provide an element of deterrence rather than on the basis that they
would be fully and effectively enforced. The incentives were motivated
by both social and economic considerations but the focus has not
been on optimum use of land for agricultural production.
Credit for agricultural production is provided for by a number
of agencies, among them commercial banks, the Agricultural Crtedit
Board, the Peoples' Cooperative Banks, the Jamaica Development
Bank, Commodity Boards, higglers, and well-to-do farmers.
Traditionally bankers have been very conservative, lend-
ing well within the sale value of the real estate used to secure the
loan -- which often has been for a short term. Economic feasibility
played little part. The character of the man played more and
security the most. The result has been the increasing dependence
on government or quasi-governmental sources.
The credit supply, however, is uncoordinated. Much is
commodity-related and not in relation to the farm as a whole.
Especially for production of domestic foods, the credit supply is
inadequate and since usually property is required as security,
smallholders and tenants suffer difficulties.
Many credit schemes have suffered from slow repayment
and in a number of past schemes it seems difficult to see an increase
in production corresponding to the amount of money invested.
The Agricultural Credit Board, which is a Statutory Board
within the framework of the .Ministry of Agriculture, is intricately
involved in the execution and administration of the Government's
Agricultural Loan Programs such as the Farmers Development
Program and the Self-Supporting Farmers' Development Project.
This Board employs a large staff of Agricultural Credit Officers
and in the case of the Self-Supporting Farmers' Development
Project and Board assigns a Credit Officer to each of the thirteen
Land Authorities to work full time on that Project.
The Extension Service of the Mlinistry of Agriculture,
through the Land Authorities also is responsible for administration
of certain aspects of the Government's Agricultural Loan Program
including the Farmers' Development Program and the Self-Supporting
Farmers' Development Project. The Extension Service has the
responsibility to receive loan applications from farmers and to have
these loan requests reflected in properly prepared Farm Plans.
Responsibility for approving loans and releasing loan funds is that of
the Agricultural Credit Board. This inter-dependence oft-times
icads to ,confusion; delays in the execution of the loan pr I- ams,
dissatisfaction among farmers, and serious differences (o views
between officers of the respective Agencies on technical
agricultural mattt-rs as well as on the interpretation and applica-
tion of the criteria governing the granting of loans to farmers.
Although a fair amon.mt of credit is available to small
farmers in various institutions the use of credit also is restricted
by a number of problems such as lack of adequate and suitable
securities; a high level of risk and uncertainty in the production
of food crops which serves as a disincentive to borrow money;
the suspicion among a high percentage of farmers of the require-
ment that they submit their Registered Land Titles as security
for loans; and the fact that a large number of farmers are delinquent
in the use of money borrowed for agricultural purposes. Frequently
these farmers have used the credit for purposes other than those
for which it was intended. There is a high incidence of this in
the current Government loan programs.
The difficulty of obtaining credit for a "commercial
operation" lies not so much in the lack of appropriate securities
as in the problem of securing credit on terms which the farmer
considers appropriate for this type of venture. Capital has been
available, but the cost of this money when compared with the expected
returns based on the prevailing prices has been too high to permit
investors to use it.
It is necessary that these confusing arrangements be cleared
by eliminating conflicting regulations and possibly liquidating some
of the credit channels. It is doubtful that the Land Authorities, as
an example, should continue in the credit field. Probably the most
efficient and effective move would be to establish an autonomous
agricultural credit bank with adequate authority for both larger and
smaller farms and sufficient branches to enable small farmers to
reach the credit facility.
The supply of inputs necessary for agricultural production is
provided by the Jamaica Agri::ultural Society, cooperatives and private
dealers. The commodity boards and producers associations
are involved also, as far as the requirements for their
specific crop is concerned. This means, a farmer will get
the fertilizer for his cane from the Cane Farmers' Associa-
tion, while for the fertilizer necessary for his other crops
he is referred to other sources. Sometimes the supply
available is insufficient or not available in time. In
any event it is a confusing, inefficient and costly arrange-
Shortage of farm machinery service also is one of
the more important factors limiting agricultural production.
The major governmental entry into the farm machinery area
was in the form of a farm machinery pool scheme started in
1964 under the administration of the Agricultural Develop-
ment Corporation. The purpose was to provide tillage service
to small and medium sized farms. Even though tillage was
done for the-small and medium farmers at reduced cost when
compared to manual labor, the cost to the government was
very high. Of more significance, however, was the fact that
the tillage service which the scheme should have provided
for the farmers could not be achieved in many cases and when
it was done it often was accomplished after the time required
resulting in short crops and production losses. Only 42 per-
cent of the requests for farm machinery services were
completed and there are indications that if the scheme had
been efficiently implemented the number of requests would
have been greater. On its over-all performance the Ministry
of Agriculture sector study concluded that the scheme must
be regarded as a failure yet had it been operated efficiently
in a cooperative manner it could have been a great boon to
Four private feed mixing mills formulate and supply
mixed feed to the poultry, hog and dairy industries. The
ingredients are imported and processed locally. The high
levels and fluctuations in feed costs constitute the main
feed input problem. The dependence of such agricultural
producers as the broiler industry on imported feed puts these
industries in a very difficult economic and operational
Export crops are marketed through the sugar factories and
via the various Commodity Boards for the other export crops. They
are largely statutory bodies and quasi-governmental institutions.
They work independently of each other. The margin between
Boards' revenue and farmers' prices tends to be rather high
regardless of Government subsidy.
Marketing of bananas is the responsibility of the Banana
Board, a statutory body set up by the government to run the industry.
Its duties and powers are aimed at making the most favorable arrange-
ments for purchase, handling, transportation, exportation, market-
ing and sale of bananas. Its marketing role ends after the bananas
are loaded on the boat. The banana farmer receives a fixed price
for his bananas which is maintained in the face of fluctuating export
prices by government subsidy. The cost of transporting bananas
from the field to the boxing plant is paid by the farme-r. The market-
ing costs are high -- which tends to hold down the price to the banana
producer. This in turn results in insufficient fruit for Jamaica to
maintain its share of the market. Local marketing channels are the
same as for other domestic crops.
Citrus marketing relates to the functioning of the Citrus
Growers Association, a growers' organization which has been given
the powers of a statutory board by the government. It is legally
responsible for the disposal of all fruits delivered to it by registered
growers. It handles about 70 percent of the export of fresh fruit, with
the Citrus Company of Jamaica (a private company) handling the
remainder. The marketing of processed products is done by the
Growers Association subsidiary and the Citrus Company of Jamaica.
Fresh exports have been declining steadily over the past ten years.
Price to farmers for export or processed citrus is determined
after all other expenses are met. Factory inefficiency and rising over-
seas marketing expenses hold down the price paid for export and
processing. Only through the relatively high price paid for fruit for
the local market have the citrus farmers been able to stay in business.
Pimento export marketing is the sole prerogative of the
Ministry of Agriculture. Domestic marketing is carried on by a group
of special dealers under special license by the Ministry. The price
is fixed annually by the Ministry of Agriculture.
Tobacco marketing is controlled by one statutory board --
The Tobacco Industry Control Authority -- and a number of private
companies. The Authority was formed to revive the cigar leaf
industry by making leaf tobacco available for export at prices below
the Jamaican cost of production through an export price subsidy.
The private companies operate cigar factories -- two of which operate
also under the export incentive law and are not allowed to sell in
Jamaica. The Tobacco Industry, encouraged by the GOJ is now
underway in an effort to increase the output. The foreign demand is
The coconut industry has essentially become a domestic
industry, apart from exporting a small amount of fresh coconut and
whole coconut for planting. The marketing responsibility however is
vested with The Coconut Industry Board, a statutory board under the
Ministry of Agriculture. The Board purchases coconut directly from
farmers and copra from the commercially operated and private copra
factories in the country. The Board assists in loans for the erection
of copra dryers. Transportation is subsidized but is handled directly
by the growers and the dryers. Currently it is severely h;indicaplped
by the yellow disease and, although plantings of resistant strains are
improving the outlook still is serious. Of the 6. 5 million coconut
palms in 1961, about half have died and the present mortality is 300, 000
palms each year. This has reduced copra and coconut oil production
by more than fifty percent.
The price of coconut and copra is fixed annually by the Board.
Copra is sold locally to the processing ,companies on a quota basis.
Coffee marketing is regulated by the Coffee Industry Board.
There is both an export and local market. A statutory body, the Coffee
Industry Board is responsible for the overall marketing of coffee.
However, the Board delegates some of its marketing functions to other
organizations and individuals. For this privilege, a fee is paid the
Board for roasted coffee exported and on the export of Blue Mountain
'Th local market can Ie divided into the Cherry ( ,)fftc :n l
the ProccKsscd C(offee market. The (lChlerry Cofl'fc moves from tl.hl
() Contract i:; stipulated prices;
(2) purchases at absolute guarantee( price--;
(3) Open market purchases based on minimum
The first two apply only to certain specified crops where-
as the open-market operation applies to all domestic crops
except those which fall urder the absolute guaranteed
prices system. The contract system has not proved too
effective because in periods of scarcity farmers tend to
exploit other marketing channels. The largest volume of
crops are bought through the minimum guaranteed prices
system. It has been a strong stimulant to production. At
present 35 crops are under this system. Prior to establish-
ment of AMC many of these commodities were imported. Since
then, in almost all of these crops local production has
become self-sufficient. In fact, in some cases, surpluses have
developed. This has accentuated the need for additional
storage space, wider channels for distribution and active
movement into processing.
b. Purchasing Prices: One of the crucial factors affect-
ing the livelihood of the farmer is the price he receives
for his produce. Although the price paid to farmers by the
AMC is influenced to some degree by supply and demand, the
actual buying price may not fall below a level which covers
the cost of production plus a profit margin of not less than
20 percent. One of the problems encountered was the price
fluctuation from week to week, resulting in farmers operating
under extreme conditions of price uncertainty. To overcome
this, since March 1974 prices have been established on a
monthly basis for most crops with a few on a "crop basis" and
this has reduced the climate of price uncertainty and has
helped create a further stimulus for increased production.
c. Quantities Purchased: One of the yardsticks of growth
is the volume of goods purchased. In 1964 the quantity was
approximately 3,000 tons; by 1974 it was 30,000 tons. The
projection for 1975 is 50,000 tons and it is expected that it
will reach about 90,000 by 1977. Several probable reasons
may account for the increases. First, total domestic food
production has increased over the ten-year period. Second,
the number of Buying Stations has increased from 50 in
1963 to 150 in 1974 along with a substantial increase
in the number of Buying Points. Thus island coverage
is much greater. Third, total purchases have increased
because of contractual agreements with Government farms.
This applies in particular to the Land Lease farmers who
must sell to AMC at least 20 percent of their total food
production to cover various inputs provided by Government,
and the agreement with the Government Food Farms under
which they sell all their production to the AMC.
d. Distribution: The AMC has attempted to grow with
the demand. Not only is this growth reflected in the
increased numbers of Buying Stations and Buying Points but
in distribution facilities as well. There were five major
Retail Outlets as late as 1972, and sixteen in 1975, with
sales increasing from J$500,000 to J$2 million. In addition,
recently instituted at Government's request are AMC Special
Shops and Mobile Units which sell locally grown produce to
lower-income wage earners at about 20 percent below normal
selling prices. Twenty-five Special Shops currently are
serving 140,000 people in urban areas while twenty-six
Mobile Units reach 180,000 rural customers. Planned for
this purpose by the end of 1975 are a total of 60 Special
Shops, 20 Green Groceries and an undetermined number of new
Mobile Units. Thus the early patterns of distribution through
traditional outlets; i.e. higglers, supermarkets, exports
and to a lesser extent AMC Retail Stores, is being altered
to provide wider and better balanced coverage.
e. Provision of Ancilliary Services: Marketing does not
merely involve buying and selling commodities. Many services
must be provided for the movement of goods from the produc-r
to the consumer. These include grading, packaging, storage,
transportation and others. There are three basic types of
(1) those provided direct to farmers
(2) those provided in transit
(3) those provided in preparing the commodities
just prior to reaching the consumer.
Direct services include encouragement and information addressed
to increasing both quantity and quality of produce. These
services are given by direct contact with farmers and by non-
formal educational programs over radio and television.
Services in transit relate essentially to the trans-
portation system is well recognized by the AMC as it has
a significant influence on the quality of the produce,
the lack of good feeder roads in the farm areas to
facilitate speedy transport is a serious constraint.
There is a need also for more refrigerated trucks to move
produce through the distribution network. With respect
to handling and preparation of the produce for distribu-
tion to retail outlets the AMC is confronted with the
problems of storage and space for such preparation;
cleaning, grading, packaging, etc. As purchases increase
these facilities have been increased although even now
the demand exceeds the supply.
f. Marketing Problems: The Marketing Board of the AMC
is concerned with marketing products entirely different
from those of an industrial marketing agency. Three stand
out: first, the produce is perishable; second, agricultural
production is influenced by weather and other factors which
cause surpluses in one period and shortages in another; and
third, the Government policy for the AMC to encourage farm
production through guaranteed market prices results in no
direct control over the volume of purchases. Thus the AMC
is committed to buy commodities that sometimes have to be
disposed of at a loss. Furthermore, as mentioned above,
surpluses which have developed have pointed up the need
for more storage space, greater distribution and increased
Although the AMC has been handling less than 20 percent
of the locally produced agricultural commodities, under its
plan to expand services the percentage is bound to rise. This
will accentuate the problem of minimum guaranteed prices. The
AMC buys at its stations all products offered by farmers (except
the crops handled by the Statutory Boards) and for 35 crops now
has minimum guaranteed prices. Production of these crops has
been stimulated. The price guarantees are not matched with
firm planning of production so the AMC frequently loses money
in its business activities because of the mandate to provide
farmers an assured market. In 1973 its losses reached J$1.75
million. Since this loss is paid by the Government it is, in
S effect, a subsidy to farmers. The Government's decision to
expand the AMO's services to the lower income groups through
Special Shops, Green Groceries and Mobile Units is likely to
increase this loss. However, there is no thought of discon-
tinuing the program of guaranteed prices so the solution rests
with agricultural production planning, increased storage
and processing facilities and wider distribution, includ-
ing overseas, particularly the Caribbean, Canadian and
United States markets. The Director of the AMC has declared
that most urgent attention should be given to the rationaliza-
tion Io production and marketing in the Commonwealth Caribbean
countries, with potatoes and yams the leading exports. The
AMC is the sole importer of agricultural produce which in
1974 were valued at approximately J$3.0 million. Total food
imports for 1974 reached J$119.3 million.
Finally, an associated problem affecting the AMC is
the inadequacy of Market Intelligence. Although progress
has been made in this area, there is need for improvement.
The problem reduced to its simplest form is the obtaining
of information from thousands of farmers scattered through-
out the island who have either inadequate or no communications
facilities and the promulgation of marketing information to
In its retail operations the AMC serves approximately
30 percent of the population which makes up the middle and
upper income groups, roughly 180,000 people. Thus the retail
stores are in competition with the supermarkets. However,
the supermarkets usually are larger, brighter and package
and display their produce on a higher marketing level and
are able to compete, although their prices generally are
higher. Broadening their scope, the AMC retail stores are
becoming increasingly important as centers for the distribu-
tion of meats and meat products, particularly pork, pork
products and chicken and the Corporation is engaged in the
slaughter of pigs and the storage of pork for the fresh meat
markets. Moving further into the processing sector, the AMC
operates a factory at Yallahs processing carrots, beets and
Wholesale customers of the AMC are the supermarket
operators, hotels, food processors, higglers and, wholesale
distributors (chiefly for imported produce). All these
customers maintain that they cannot rely on the AMC for their
supplies. Except for the few wholesale distributors all the
other customers obtain most of their supplies either directly
from the farmers or from independent contractors and other
than for imported produce the AMC is regarded as a marginal
2. The "Hiqgger" System (Small Traders local1.y al1le
H1igglers in Jamaica usually are women and there are
an estimated 3,000 who permanently are engaged in this
business. Seventy to eighty percent of the domestic food
distribution is carried out through the higgler system.
Their activities frequently include transportation of
produce, sometimes reaping the crops with their own labor
and even supplying credit to farmers. In addition to buy-
ing produce from farmers, they occasionally purchase from
the Agricultural Marketing Corporation. They retail through
the facilities of the Parish Council Markets and on the
Until recent years, the market channel for domestically
consumed crops was almost entirely through the higgler system.
Because it was operated by people from the lower strata of
the society, the middle and upper classes preferred not to
enter the markets. Even today this psychological attitude
has been a barrier to the AMC entering the Parish Markets
and developing them. The net result is that the Jamaican
domestic market for agricultural commodities is a complex
system which is short on wholesalers who are not simultaneously
retailers. It tends to be generally lacking in marketing
information and much of it is operated by people with limited
marketing skills. This limits evolutionary change from within.
Credit for most higgler retailing is provided by wholesale
The higglers' pricing policy depends upon the supply
situation. During periods of gluts the higglers are price
followers but when supply is scarce they become price leaders,
sometimes leaving the Agricultural Marketing Corporation with
little or nothing to buy. Unfortunately, the high cost of
assembly and transportation and the large number of retail
higglers, some of which sell only small amounts, make the
system a physically inefficient one.
There has been a reluctance to tamper with the higgler
system because most of the higglers are responsible for support-
ting a family and their levels of education usually is such
that it would be impossible for many to find alternative gain-
ful employment. Also, in its way, it is working, and it is
supplying many people with locally gorwn foods and furnishing
many farmers with outlets for their produce.
3. Family Members:
Family members, especially wives of small farmers,
often go to one of the weekly markets and like higgiers -
sell the produce themselves. In the absence of other gain-
ful activities this improves family income, especially as
they can buy the daily necessities on the market at the same
time. Also, going to the market is a social function. Thus,
the number of "higglers" actively engaged in selling locally
produced agricultural commodities may double or quadruple
from the estimated number of professional higglers on any
local market day.
4. Supermarkets and Green Markets:
These privately owned facilities for selling groceries,
produce and often many other items receive their agricultural
products from the AMC and the higglers who engage in the
wholesale trade. As the urban population increases and to
accommodate the tourist trade, more and more supermarkets
and green markets are established and the chain stores influence
is becoming more evident. Generally these outlets are more
expensive than AMC facilities or higglers but they provide a
greater variety of commodities, usually are handy to residen-
tial areas, are larger, brighter and cleaner, display their
goods in more attractive ways and tend to draw the trade of
the upper and middle income population.
Comparatively speaking, supermarkets handle small
quantities of root crops except for Irish potatoes. This is due
to the fact that supermarkets draw their customers chiefly from
middle and upper income groups. Vegetables and fruits are
the specialties of the supermarkets. These markets are the
chief distributors of the more expensive vegetables such as
cauliflower, sweet pepper, iceberg lettuce and celery.
1). Food Processing
The food processing sector embraces five groups fr
Production of cereal food products; bakery
products, cassava products, patties and Ei s, etc.
Processing of meat and dairy products; mea-
slaughtering, poultry and other meat processing,
condensed milk, ice cream, etc.
Canning and preserving of fruits and
Milling, grinding and curing; coffee, cocoa,
rice, flour, etc.
The processing of other food products; edible
oils and fats, sugar confectionery, cashew
nuts, peanuts, etc.
Table No. 17 Food Processing
Gross Output of
Output of Manufac- Food Processing
Year turning Sector Sector ($) Ratio
1960 176,889,000 48,333,600 27.3
1967 309,899,600 77,673,200 26.7
1968 329,777,200 79,668,800 24.2
1969 333,167,600 82,858,200 24.9
1970 353,183,400 88,057,200 24.9
Source: Department of Statistics: Unpublished
National Accounts and Production data.
Cereal food products was the largest contributor to the
gross output of the industry. In 1970 this group accounted
for 35.6 percent of the total output compared with 31.2 per-
cent for meat and dairy products and 9.2 percent for canning
and preserving of fruits and vegetables.
The relative importance of the five groups within the
sector cai be assessed also, on the basis of the ratio of income
contribution (wages, profits, rent, interest and indirect taxes)
to gross output. This ratio gives some indication of the extent
to which value is added to the basic raw materials and other
intermediate inputs used in the producing process. Of the five
sub-groups, meat and dairy products which is the largest
contributor to gross output of the industry, has the lowest
ratio of income generated to gross output, i.e. 25.1 percent
compared with 32.2 percent and 32.4 percent for canning and
preserving and other food products, respectively.
The conclusion implied by the analysis in the preced-
ing paragraph must, however, be qualified somewhat. A low
value-added to gross output ratio is not necessarily an
indication of relatively insignificant income contribution
with the local economy. In the case of meat products, a
low value-added ratio at the processing end is indicative
of a high value-added contribution at the farming end. In
fact, this observation applies to all sub-groups of the
industry except cereal food products.
The structure of the industry can be looked at also in
terms of the number of establishments engaged within each
product group and the number of persons employed in the
industry as a whole and within each product group.
There are over 300 establishments engaged in food process-
ing throughout the island. Of this number over 170 produce
bakery products. About 140 of these food processing
establishments are located in the rural areas, 90 of which
produce bakery products, while 20 process fruits and vegetables
It will be seen from the data in Table No. 18 that the
group "bakery products" which is a part of the cereal group
is a substantial employer of labor and at the same time, is
comprised of the largest number of establishments. However,
with only 28.5 percent of its total inputs purchased from
the local agricultural and manufacturing sectors, this sub-
sector has a relatively low level of backward linkages with
the rest of the economy. No detailed explanation of this
position is required. The major input into this activity is
wheat which is not grown in Jamaica.
Table No. 18.
Food Proces;sing Establishments
No. of estab- Persons
Slaughtering, preparing and
preserving of meat 23 611
Manufacture of Dairy Products 11 1,133
Canning and Preserving of
fruits and vegetables 29 7,279
Manufacture of grain mill products
and fermenting 30 1,886
Manufacture of bakery products 176 4,072
Cocoa and coffee manufactures
(not including confectionaries) 7 383
Manufacture of cocoa, sugar and
other confectionaries 8 279
Miscellaneous Food Preparations 23 1,580
Canning and preserving of fruits and vegetables is
the largest employer of labor within the industry. They
are over 20 establishments engaged in this activity, 14 of
which are located in the rural parishes. This sub-group
of industry has a substantial backward linkage with the
agricultural sector since most of the intermediate inputs used
by it are either locally produced or can be produced locally.
The group dairy products as well as milled and fermented
products are also significant sub-sectors, assessed on the
basis of their employment contribution.
The structure outlined above indicates, therefore, that
the food processing industry which is comprised of a large
number of relatively small establishments is one of the most
substantial employers of labor in the manufacturing sector.
indicatedd also is the fact that a significant amount of the
employment in the industry is generated within the rural sector.
1. Milk Processing:
Milk processing in Jamaica is confined on the one
hand to pasteurization and homogenization for the fresh
milk market and on the other to the manufacture of sweetened
condensed and unsweetened evaporated milk. In terms of
milk for fluid consumption the supply is almost equally
shared between the processors and the "pirate" distributors.
The latter sell unpasteurized milk to the public. There
are four private milk pasteurizing companies in Jamaica.
The quantity of raw milk being consumed is about equal to
The condensary has remained for more than four decades
a major outlet for fresh milk which it converts to sweetened
condensed and evaporated milk. The milk available to the
plant is not surplus to the requirements of the fluid milk
market. In fact the GOJ desires greater consumption of
fresh, pasteurized milk by the public. However, total produc-
tion is easily consumed under present conditions. In Jamaica
the dairy farmer is either fortunate enough to sell all his
milk to the higher-priced fluid market or he must sell all to
the condensary at about half the price. One base price applies
to all milk purchased for the fluid market but the condensary
offers incentives and penalties on milk quality. The result
has been that up until the recent upsurge in world prices
it was much more profitable to bring in milk solids and milk
fat from abroad and use them for manufacture instead of buy-
ing local raw milk for processing.
Milk is transported ultimately by bulk tanker for both the
fluid and condensed market but condensary suppliers send milk
in cans to the substations who transship in bulk to the
condensary. Fluid milk is shipped direct from farm to plant
by bulk tanker.
The condensary supplier can get away with a smaller
capital investment in equipment but sometimes at the expense of
his premium. The fluid market (other than the "pirate" distri-
butors) requires machine milking (preferably pipeline) and bulk
cooling in a tank with a minimum capacity of about 250 gallons.
The condensary accepts hand milking, inchurn cooling or no cool-
ing at all but premiums are bound to be adversely affected
when the cheaper options are exercised.
The milk collec-tio'- process is expen;sivJ; j n,- : rtiona],
as many collectors travel the same oute to h I,:- iar -ial
loads and journey with th.m many miles. Much of t he il' I is
handled by itinerant pedd-ers in the most inefficient mri.-nne
possible. In total, ther. are too many handlers hand'Lrnc too
little milk and duplicating each other's functions. Hince
the overhead cost of handling and processing is exhorb tantlI
The few regulations that exist governing the pr, iuctian
and presentation of fluid milk are inadequately poJic5:d by
the Public Health Department of the various Parish Councils.
Also, there is much consurner suspicion that the milk offered
is less than standard.
2. Meat Processing:
The meat processing industry has progressed little in
the last two decades and naw requires considerable moderniza-
tion. Slaughter of animals is carried out in at least 20
municipal and rural slaughter houses scattered throughout
Jamaica and under even more primitive conditions in more remote
areas. The Agricultural Marketing Corporation's venture into
meat processing came as a result of the inability of existing
pork processors to cope with the volume of pigs resulting
from a pig expansion program.
Arrangements for meat inspection are unsatisfactory.
Except for hides, nearly all by-products such as blood, bone and
condemned meat from slaughter are lost. Most of the hides are
very poor quality as the result of heavy tick infestation.
Storage and handling of the carcass from abattoir to consumer
is highly unsatisfactory. Thus efficiency of this aspect of
the meat industry is very low. The meat industry is therefore
not in a position to profit from by-products, a most important
source of revenue in modern slaughter operations and losses of
meat are too high.
Plainly, the present abattoir, cold storage facilities
and meat inspection service are inadequate. Likewise, there
is underfinancing and lack of expertise in the packing industry
as well as inadequate livestock market information. Finally,
the livestock industry lacks a mechanism for orderly price
3. Scope of Development:
The scope for development of the food processing
industry during the next three years, can be assessed
on the basis of the projected levels of demand at constant
prices for certain categories of processed foods Table
No. 19. These estimates are based upon a computation of
the responsiveness of demand for these food products to
changes in levels of income.
Table No. 19.
Projected Demand for Specified Groups
of Processed Food Products
1967 Demand 1975 % Change
Milk and Milk
Products 15,700,842 36,111,937 130
Meat and Meat
Products 17,149,046 36,698,958 114
Canned Fruits and
Vegetables 9,933,120 17,184,298 73
Bakery 18,426,800 38,142,476 1.,
The data reveal that the demand for Milk and Milk
Products is expected to increase the growth of income at
the fastest rate. This is closely followed by Mea-, and
Meat Products. The group Canned Fruits and Vegetables is
also expected to undergo a rapid rate of growth although
less significant than that related to the other foio groups
listed in Table No. 19.
The scope for expansion of the industry must be
looked at also in terms of the ability of the local economy
to produce the products listed at the rates of demand
indicated. This will to a large extent, be determined by
the effectiveness of policy measures aimed at remov q the
identifiable inhibitions to the expansion of production.
Insofar as the rate of growth of demand exceeds the
economy's ability to produce these goods, the value of
processed foods imports will increase. But since an
important objective of any policy aimed at developing
the food processing industry is a reduction of imports
in total domestic supply of these products, it is
important that development in respect of all categories
of food products be pushed at a rate compatible with
growth in the level of demand.
4. Production Bottlenecks:
a. Milk and Dairy Products
Expansion of the dairy industry is crucially
dependent upon the removal of certain marketing and produc-
(1) inadequate incentives for the expansion of
fresh milk production;
(2) an irrational system of collection and
transportation of milk with its resultant high
unit cost of production;
(3) lack of uniformity in the interpretation of
milk regulations by Public Health Officers.
b. Canning and Preserving of Fruits and Vegetables
A great deal of attention has in recent years been
focused on the sub-sector Canning'and Preserving of Fruits
and Vegetables a fact which is largely influenced by such
(a) the existing or potential linkage with the
small farming sector and consequently the overall
high indirect employment effect of this activity;
(b) the scope presented by this activity for the
the creation of rural industrial employment;
(c) the opportunities it presents for the
production of a wide range of import sub-
stitutes (tinned juices, canned fruits and
vegetables, soups, etc.).
In what follows, we examine the basic factors which
are inhibiting the development and expansion of the canning
and preserving sub-sector. The analysis is undertaken
under the headings -
Fruits other than Citrus and Vegetables
(1) Citrus Products:
The processing of citrus is currently undertaken by
Jamaica Citrus Growers, Limited
This plant which is located in Bog Walk current-
ly produces grapefruit segments, citrus marma-
lades and carrot juice.
Citrus Company of Jamaica, Limited
Located in May Pen. It produces grapefruit
segments, orange juice, grapefruit juice and
blend as well as concentrated orange juice.
The main difficulties of the citrus processing industry
are the inadequacy of supply of fruits for processing, the
shortage of skilled labor, and shipping problems.
The plants which process citrus operate at between
40 percent and 60 percent of their producti- capacity. One
important determining factor in the under-utilization of
capacity has been the inadequacy of the supply of grapefruits
and oranges. The total supply of fresh citrus is not adequate
to meet the requirements of the local processing plants plus
the local and overseas markets for fresh citrus. One conse-
quence of the intense competition for available supplies is
the existence of relatively high prices in he local citrus
market. At such prices, growers realize o- sales to this
market, a rate of return which is higher than that obtained
on sales to the processing plants.
(2) Fruits (other than Citrus) and Vegetables
There are about 22 processors of fruits (other than
citrus) and vegetables (excluding copra processing) in
Jamaica. In addition 2 of these plants produce more than
10 groups of products. The processing of ackee is under-
taken by at least 6 plants.
However a number of food processing plants have ceased
operation the past few years due to problems such as:
(i) shortage of working capital;
(ii) unreliability of supply of raw
materials (fruits, vegetables, etc.);
(iii) the age and efficiency of processing
(iv) shortage of skilled labor;
(v) the under-utilization of plants;
(vi) non-specialization (in production and
(vii) the absence of a meaningful market study.
c. The Unreliability of Supply of Basic Raw Materials
Perhaps the most vexing problem is the raw material
supply problem in the sense that it affects most processors
and is the root-cause of a number of other problems. Some
of the products in short supply are pineapples, carrots,
ackees, mangoes, guavas and tomatoes.
The short supply of fruits and vegetables has given
rise to intense competition for available supplies of fruits
and vegetables between the fresh market and the processing
sector. The dominance of the higgler system in the marketing
of domestic food products ensures that the fresh market
is first supplied. Processors on the other hand, have
been forced to pay high prices for their supplies. Another
effect of the shortage of local fruits and vegetables is
the accumulation over long periods of raw materials awaiting
sufficient volume to make processing feasible. This results
in deterioration in the quality of raw materials and makes
impossible the standardization of the quality of finished
products. Short supply of basic raw materials makes for
shorter production runs on each product and thus higher
d. The Shortage of Skilled Labor
The shortage of highly trained chemists, engineers,
etc., tends to act as a constraint on advancement and expan-
sion in the industry. The need for many more trained
mechanics, labor supervisors and skilled craftsmen results
in high repair and maintenance costs and frequent plant
The foregoing suggests that a viable food process-
ing industry can become a reality in Jamaica provided adequate
attention is given by the industry and government to over-
coming the obstacles identified above. There is no question
however of the importance of the industry in terms of employ-
ment, employment creation, foreign exchange savings, and
increased productivity of the lagging Agriculture sector.
Access roads are inadequate in many areas. For
example, in several areas suited to dairying, the access
roads are unsuitable for large tank trucks. Collection of
milk is expensive if large units are not able to be used.
A 1969 transportation survey showed that the pressing trans-
portation need was to upgrade the existing road network,
upgrading it with particular attention to drainage and surfac-
ing. A USAID loan for $10 million is being implemented to
improve some farm to market roads.
In addition, an excessive amount of travel is
needed for the amount of some products marketed. For
example, a dairy study indicated the milk condensary
pickup requires one truck mile for every imperial
The supply of trucks available to small producers
is rapidly becoming a problem. Because of the lag in
the price of many food products, truckers find it more
profitable to turn to hauling other products. The rising
costs of truck operation likewise make transportation
access more difficult for individual small growers
scattered over a wide area who have need for transporting
only small amounts of products.
For many of the products marketed through statutory
boards or growers associations, transportation is arranged
for by the Board or Association. In some cases the net
transportation cost is equaled for all producers regard-
less of their distance from market. The result is that
nearby growers subsidize transportation costs for the more
distant. Large producers subsidize costs for the small.
On the whole, transportation costs are higher than necessary
for most of these statutory or association provided services.
Some of the small producers who live long distances
from market find transportation costs so high in relation
to the product prices as to make the production unprofitable,
especially if small quantities are produced or harvested
at a time. This is eased in some cases where transporta-
tion is provided by the small traders; wholesaler higglers
who travel to different parts of the island in trucks to
collect domestic foods.
The Agricultural Marketing Corporation transports
produce from its buying stations to district branches and
the head office. It, also, transports produce to some of
its large customers. Although it has a number of trucks,
the AMC contracts a large portion of its work to private
truckers. In short there exists a great need for improved
farm to market roads and a requirement for better organiza-
tion of the use of the transport facilities presently avail-
Except for the traditional exports, ship freight
space to England often is too inadequate and infrequent
to meet seasonal harvest requirements in the fresh fruit
and vegetable market. Another problem is created by the
small harvests of fresh products for export. For example,
the volume of fresh citrus fruit available at any one
time may not be enough to fill a refrigerated compartment
in the banana vessels, thus the shipping costs per unit
are elevated. There also have been repeated complaints
about the unavailability of freight space to move processed
food products to the United Kingdom. It would seem this
type of shipment problem should be solved fairly easily,
however reliable shipping arrangements are yet to be made
for the exports of processed fruit and vegetable products.
Shipping to some U.K. ports entails trans-shipment through
Amsterdam. Transportation and distribution costs are there-
by increased. Shipping to the Canadian market is also
inadequate. It is estimated that with adequate shipping,
exports of citrus products to Canada could be doubled
within a short period.
VI. ORGANIZATIONS AND INSTITUTIONS
A. Farmers' Organizations and Cooperatives
* The Jamaica Agricultural Society has a long history
of service to agriculture. Many activities now undertaken
by other agencies have originated as projects of the JAS;
the extension services being among the most prominent ex-
ample. The JAS was influential in organizing the early
Department of Agriculture, is a main supplier of farm in-
puts, organized the 4-H Clubs, the annual Agricultural
Show, model farms, etc. It maintains a structure of local
farmers' groups for discussion of subjects of common interest
and has offices in each parish. In recent years its activ-
ities have been reduced somewhat and it now seems to be more
a society for the farmer than by the farmer. .Especially
it does not seem to represent the small holder to the degree
it could and should since marked increased production of
indigenous food crops by small farmers will be a require-
ment for Jamaica's future nutrition policy and agricultural
Grower's Associations represent the interests of the
particular crop producers of export crops. While there are
a number of cooperatives, working in credit and marketing,
the idea of agricultural cooperatives so far has failed to
to take firm hold in Jamaica. Efforts usually came from
above and the cooperative members generally consider the
cooperative to be a service of the Government to help them
rather than a mutual effort. Conversations with Jamaicans
from many areas and walks of life reveal that the large
majority feel that cooperatives will not work in Jamaica.
They tend to be so certain of this that it would seem neces-
sary, if cooperatives are to function officially (or at all),
that training should begin early in the educational system;
perhaps in primary school, with actual cooperative efforts
among the students.
B. Ministry of Agriculture
Agricultural policy determination is largely the function
of the Ministry of Agriculture, obviously within the ambit
of overall policy for national development as determined by
the Cabinet. Thus, in principle, the Ministry of Agriculture
has the prime responsibility and control over the various
departments, statutory bodies and agencies engaged in the
agricultural area. In fact, the activities of many of these
organizations are overlapping, and the degree of control of
the Ministry over the several institutions varies. This
is caused partly by the regulations governing these
agencies, partly by the interpretation of unclearly de-
fined jurisdiction by more or less powerful leaders of
agencies and partly by the degree of influence other
Ministries have in the matters of these agencies.
The whole approach is inefficient, expensive and needs
reorganization; a fact well recognized by the government.
There is a lack of coherent, comprehensive national agri-
cultural policy. Agricultural policy making is fragmented
among several ministries, agencies and statutory boards.
No agency firmly assumes a coordinating role. The result
is a patchwork of piecemeal efforts with some activities
contradictory to others. The problem is especially acute
with the statutory boards, as each operates within its own
little, independent universe.
C. Other Sector Services
1. Extension Services:
The main characteristic of extension in Jamaica seems
to be the comparatively large number of various bodies which
provide this sector service. The result is advice to farmers
by a large number of agencies in an uncoordinated way,
causing much duplication and unnecessary expense.
The main Extension Service of the Jamaican Government
falls under the control of the Ministry of Agriculture.
Its personnel consists largely of general extension workers
and a small number of extension specialists who serve as
resource persons. In addition, the research workers of the
Ministry also serve as resource personnel to the Ministry's
Extension Service. Likewise, many other agencies are respon-
sible for providing and administrating agricultural extension
as autonomous bodies. Among them are the Commodity Boards
and Growers Associations which provide extension work on a
Most of the clientele of the Ministry's Extension
Service are small and medium farmers. An insignificant num-
ber operate farms of over 100 acres. In fact, it is the
small and mostly economically doubtful farms which provide
the vast majority of customers for the Extension Service.
Furthermore, the small and medium farms often are located
in the hilly and mountainous regions of the country where
steep slopes, deep valleys and differing soils are the
dominant physical features. Thus, the expertise of Exten-
sion Service personnel is very important if optimum pro-
duction is to be achieved.
The established responsibility of the Extension Service
is to serve all the farmers of Jamaica irrespective of their
products. The small and medium sized farms of the country
are almost wholly diversified. Many of the large properties
also pursue programs of diversified farming although most
of their land usually is used in export production. The
Extension Workers of the Ministry of Agriculture are, there-
fore, concerned, as a matter of routine, with all agricultur-
al enterprises engaged in by all of the farmers of Jamaica.
On the other hand, the agencies administering their own
extension services, specialize in the particular agricultural
crops in which they are engaged. Functionally, they are not
involved with any other agricultural enterprise but their own.
Some Statutory Boards, such as in the Coffee and Cocoa Indus-
tries, depend entirely on the Ministry of Agriculture for
research work in their crops as well as for the production
and furnishing of planting materials. The Citrus Growers
Association also is dependent on the Ministry of Agriculture
for research and the provision of planting materials. The
Coconut Industry Board provides its own research but is
dependent on the Ministry of Agriculture for planting mate-
rials. In the case of the Banana Board, the Ministry of
Agriculture assists only in the research program.
All these Agencies receive funds from Parliament for
the promotion of their crops and since they are attached to
the Ministry of Agriculture which has the Government's
Extension Service under its control, the result is a multi-
plicity of separate and autonomous Extension Services for
all of agriculture. This results in many undesirable and
costly conditions. There is duplication and overlapping
of efforts at the farm level, the district level and the
national level. There is misuse of Government's subsidies
and loan funds as the same farmer may receive such funds
for the same crop from the respective Statutory Board as
well as from the Government's Extension Service. Finally,
there is excessive and expensive travel and waste of time
by having several different Extension Agents visit the same
farm perhaps on the same day, each to deal with one crop
(coffee, citrus, cocoa, vegetables, etc.). It is an excep-
tion when one extension officer from the Ministry of Agri-
culture deals with all the crops being grown on the partic-
ular farm. Furthermore the duplication and overlapping of
effort confuses, misleads and retards the progress of the
farmer as he often receives different types of technical
and managerial advice on the same subject from officers of
different Extension Agencies. There is no doubt that the
quality of the advice is lowered as extension officers of
the different agencies may not be "speaking the same
language" as they derive their information from different
and often conflicting sources.
The salaries paid and the conditions of service offered
extension officers by the different Agencies vary widely,
but always significantly in favor of the statutory bodies
as against the extension workers of the Ministry of Agri-
culture. One effect is to drain extension officers from
the Ministry of Agriculture to the Extension Services of
the Statutory Bodies. Another is dissatisfaction by those
extension workers who remain on the staff of the Ministry
of Agriculture. Here is a case where Government itself
allows its own funds to be used to create internal competi-
tion within its own structure for scarce personnel. The
Extension Service of the Ministry normally has 50 to 75
vacancies with little hope of filling them until the situation
In addition, the Extension Service of the MOA has respon-
sibilities with respect to the administration of agricultural
credit programs of the Government. This further adds to
the confusion. (See the earlier section on Credit).
The Extension Service is organized by programs, each
of which is headed by a director who deals directly with the
Land Authorities. This again tends to result in overlapping
within the program responsibilities. There is an evident
lack of coordination and streamlining in the administration
of the Extension Service, there is a marked lack of coor-
dination between the Extension Service and the Research Divi-
sions of the Ministry of Agriculture and there are confused
areas of responsibility between the Extension Service of the
Ministry and those of the Statutory Boards. Nevertheless,
throughout the countryside many examples can be found of
farm families whose efficiency and productivity has been
improved and level of living raised as a result of technical
know-how introduced to them by the Extension Service. Exten-
sion work involves sociological as well as technological
changes and many of its influences cannot be measured solely
in quantitative terms. The need is for the nation's entire
activity to undergo necessary changes in organization to be
better equipped to participate and lead in the island's agri-
cultural and rural community development.
Research on crops and crop products in Jamaica
currently is being carried out in two broad areas: crop
production and processing and storage.
The main agencies that are concerned with the
farmer include some of the commodity sub-sectors (Sugar
Research, Coconut Industry Board, Banana Board, Tobacco
Industry Control Authority and to a lesser extent Citrus
Growers' Association), the Ministry of Agriculture (Crops
and Soils Division) and the University of West Indies.
Some of the agencies that are concerned primarily with
research in crop production also are engaged in processing
and storage research to some extent. In the latter area,
research is being conducted mainly by the Food Technology
Division, J.I.D.C.; Storage and Pest Infestation Division,
Ministry of Marketing and Commerce and the Scientific
Research Council. Livestock production research is carried
on in the Livestock Division of the Ministry of Agriculture
and livestock disease research by the Veterinary Division.
The UNDP/Pan American Health Organization is assisting in
animal disease research and project planning.
Research activities in Jamaica tend to be carried out
on a commodity and specialization basis with limited commu-
nication among either the areas of discipline or the research
agencies themselves. There is no multi-disciplinary approach
or recognization that many areas of specialization should
contribute to the package of practices that a farmer requires.
The problem is further complicated by the fact that several
virtually autonomous agencies are involved in agricultural
research, each of which conducts its research independently.
Another area lacking collaboration is the spectrum of
research, extension and development. While research is
essential to progress per se it cannot make a meaningful
contribution to development. Adequate research is a two-way
proposition; ideas identifying areas of need must flow to
the research agencies and research findings, in turn, must
flow franresearch agencies to farmers.
From a subject matter standpoint, while the deficiency
in research is not so evident in the export crops it is
serious in the wide range of crop and livestock products for
domestic consumption. For example, studies of management
and husbandry systems-for both hill and level land, small
and medium farming are seriously lacking.
At present agricultural research in Jamaica is mostly
restricted to the production of agricultural products.
The implications of this effort is that it will improve the
lot of depressed rural areas. There is need to consider
specifically the kinds of technology which will best improve
the lot of rural Jamaicans. Technology which does not re-
quire heavy capital inputs but which will spur economic
development. Also the effects on one another and on the
country the various directions such economic development
might take; influenced by soil, weather, values of crops and
whether crops are or should be for export or domestic con-
sumption. An example is bananas; when local prices of
nutritious foods rose, local consumption of bananas rose
also and exports fell.
Livestock research in serving the industry has sought
to direct its efforts at providing information for the rapidly
increasing animal productivity and for producing "improved"
livestock and forages as well as food grains. In pursuance
of these objectives its operations have been organized into
five sections as follows: (1) Dairy Cattle Breeding and
Husbandry; (2) Beef'Cattle Breeding and Husbandry; (3) Swine
and Sheep Breeding and Husbandry; (4) Pasture Research; and
(5) Animal Nutrition Research. One of the major accomplish-
ments of the Dairy Cattle Research Branch has been breed
improvement in its own Jamaica Hope herd. In general, hus-
bandry research has been neglected in Jamaica.
Another problem which has not been adequately considered
is utilization of the waste products (offal) from agriculture
and agro-industry. Immediate research should be initiated
into uses of these products. Currently most are discarded
and wasted, or not used to their full potential. The pride
of the old City of Chicago pork packing plants, many years
ago, was that they used "Everythingin the pig but the
squeal." Jamaica must learn to do this with the residue
from its meat, fruit, grain and vegetable processing plants.
Some could be processed into fertilizer, a much needed and
expensive product, and some into feed for cattle, hogs,
chickens or fish. The losses resulting from the non-use of
these products are costing much in foreign exchange, local
finance, agro-industrial production and employment. The
loss to an individual processor who could be paid for that
which is now wasted, may be the difference between profit