Montego Bay has successfully hosted its first Agro-Tourism Famers’ Market on Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at the Catherine Hall Mini-Stadium. The initiative is an integral part of the drive to foster economic growth by deepening the linkages among agriculture, tourism and other sectors of the economy.
This new model, sponsored by the Tourism Enhancement Fund, seeks to enhance the traditional Farmers Market approach of providing fresh local produce at competitive prices with the addition of live entertainment, showcasing our local cuisine and culture through live food demonstrations and offering other uniquely Jamaican value added products to both international visitors and locals alike.
The Culinary Federation of Jamaica, RADA’s Home Economics and Social Services and Kenilworth HEART Academy all provided show-stopping and unique tastings of local produce. In addition for the value added component there were displays from the Flour Hill Producers Association, Nature’s Bliss, 3 Star Chocolate Company and agricultural input supplier Agro-Grace.
Craft products were showcased by The Jamaica Business Development Corporation and other craft vendors.
In welcoming the initiative Minister of Tourism and Entertainment,
the Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill said “I am pleased that the agro-tourism farmers’ market initiative is now being rolled-out in Montego Bay as this is symbolic of the growing synergy between tourism and other sectors of the economy such as agriculture, manufacturing and entertainment. It is also evidence of the work being done by the Tourism Linkages Council through the Tourism Linkages Hub, which has been developed within the tourism ministry, to build the resilience and sustainability of the tourism industry by ensuring that the economic benefits of tourism trickle down to local communities and positively impact more Jamaicans.”
“By bringing hoteliers in direct contact with the farmers, this initiative facilitates the strengthening of linkages between the tourism sector and the wider economy, which can help to reduce leakage while spreading the economic benefits of tourism,” Minister McNeill added.
Since its’ inception there have been six consecutive Agro-Tourism Farmers' Markets at the Norman Manley Beach Park in Negril. These markets have been highly successful and have now become a staple for tourists, hoteliers and local consumers to attend. Some farmers who have participated in this new initiative have also attested to the benefits of direct and sustainable markets for their produce.
The dates for the Agro – Tourism Farmers Markets are the same for Negril and Montego Bay and that is, the Third Wednesday of each month.
Up next, the St. Ann Agro- Tourism Farmers Market…