Tourism, agriculture ministries partner to launch Agri-Linkages - Sale of local goods to hotel industry made easier
In a bid to improve the synergy between the tourism and agricultural sectors, the Ministry of Tourism and the agriculture ministry have partnered to jointly launch the tourism Agri-Linkages Exchange (ALEX) Initiative.
The programme is an online platform created to facilitate the purchase and exchange of goods between farmers and buyers within the local hotel industry.
The platform uses a forward contract principle which allows farmers the opportunity to create an open forward contract, consisting of a certain quantity of produce to be delivered within a specified time period, at a set value in Jamaican dollars.
"These two sectors offer the best opportunities for inclusive economic growth, and this innovative online platform, which facilitates the purchase and exchange of goods between farmers and buyers within the hotel industry, certainly will increase the use of local produce in the tourism enterprises," explained Edmund Bartlett, the tourism minister.
He made this address to a room of agricultural and hotel stakeholders during Wednesday's launch at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.
"Today's launch of ALEX represents my ministry's continuing efforts to build resilience and sustainability in the industry by ensuring that the economic benefits of tourism reach local communities and positively impact more Jamaicans," Bartlett said.
The Gleaner understands that the platform - tourismagrilinkagesexchange.com - will go online on Monday, December 18, but will also later include an app for both Android and IOS devices.
Some 20 farm produce, such as yam, tomato, pepper, onion and Irish potato, will be among the first to be featured on the website that is catered for both small and large farmers.
"The Agri-Linkages Exchange platform provides a much-needed medium to directly connect farmers and buyers, which will facilitate traceability, reduce the associated search costs for buyers, and allow farmers to operate at a more profitable level within the supply chain," said Michael Stern, chairman of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority.
"It is indeed welcomed, and will become a catalyst for further transparency in the pricing of fresh produce for all parties involved - for farmers, for hoteliers and other fresh produce traders, and most of all, the consumers," he added.