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Jamaica Minister of Farming and Fisheries Invitation Program

Jamaica Minister of Farming and Fisheries Invitation Program
(At the Jamaican Ambassador’s residence)

The Jamaican Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Mr. Pearnel Charles Jr. took part in APIC’s invitational program from October 11th to 17th, 2022. In attendance alongside the minister was Mr. Dermon Spence, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and Dr. Gavin Bellamy, CEO of the National Fisheries Agency (NFA). APIC’s program coincided with the SCAJ2022: World Specialty Coffee Conference & Exhibition being held at Tokyo Big Sight, and thus in addition to paying courtesy calls to the Parliamentary Vice-Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Senior Vice Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the group also had a working lunch with the Marubeni group, and visited the FRA (Japan Fisheries Research and Education Agency) in Yokohama, the aquaculture operations at Katsuyama Fishery Cooperative in Chiba, as well as Chiba University Kashiwa-no-Ha Campus’ Plant Factory. These locations were chosen based on Jamaica’s request for a program focused on fishery and smart agriculture. APIC Secretary General Araki took part in the tours as well.

On the first day of the program, Ambassador Richards attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony to kickstart the program, and Minister Charles attended the opening ceremony of the Jamaican coffee booth. Afterward, he held talks with UCC President Ueshima, and the Agriculture and Fisheries Minister of the world-famous “Blue Mountain Coffee” exporting nation partook in a conference with the All Japan Coffee Association.

Jamaica Minister of Farming and Fisheries Invitation Program
(At the opening ceremony)

Jamaica Minister of Farming and Fisheries Invitation Program
(At Jamaica’s coffee booth at Tokyo Big Sight)
In the afternoon, the group paid courtesy calls to Parliamentary Vice-Minister Akimoto and Vice-Minister Katsumata of Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Vice-Minister Akimoto had visited Jamaica the week before and had just returned to Japan; he was excited to hear that the group would be visiting his home area of Chiba (Chiba fishing port and Chiba University). Vice-Minister Katsumata was elected at the same time as Vice-Minister Akimoto, and when he heard that Minister Charles would be visiting Japan he said he hoped the group would visit his election district of Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture. Vice-Minister Katsumata mentioned that Jamaica also must start to adopt smart agriculture and smart fishery into their economy, and thus wished the group to take in as much as possible before heading back to Jamaica.

Jamaica Minister of Farming and Fisheries Invitation Program
(Parliamentary Vice-Minister Akimoto (right))

Jamaica Minister of Farming and Fisheries Invitation Program
(Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Vice-Minister Mr. Katsumata (second from left))
The following day they visited the FRA in Yokohama; there they were informed of the FRA’s activities over the past 60 years of gathering and analyzing marine plankton, as well as the relationship between sea temperature and fish catches, in particular analyzing the age of each type of fish. They also learned about the FRA’s distinctive position as an educational resource, operating National Fisheries University and Graduate School. Minister Charles and in particular Dr. Bellamy are interested in promoting the raising of lobster and conch shells through aquaculture industry in Jamaica, and thus they asked the FRA for their cooperation with their endeavor. The FRA replied that they are willing to help if they receive a request from JICA. In the afternoon a working lunch with the Marubeni group at the Jamaican Ambassador’s residence. Marubeni is currently involved in a project in the area of electricity in Jamaica, but the Minister Charles requested their help in the fisheries arena as well. Marubeni gave a positive response, suggesting introducing portable refrigerators and other ideas, saying they would consider if they could provide aid or not. Afterward the Minister’s group visited JICA and held talks with Senior Vice President Miyazaki.

On the 14th, the group paid a visit to the Katsuyama Fisheries Cooperative in Kyonan-machi, Chiba prefecture. Katsuyama Fishing Port is the only fishing port in Chiba prefecture that operates an at-sea aquaculture net pens. The group rode a fishing boat out to the net pens and took a detailed look at the hauling of tilefish and striped horse mackerel. After disembarking, the group had a chance to talk with Representative Union President Hirashima; Mr. Hirashima gave an overview about the fisheries cooperative, and immediately after questions from the Jamaican side came one right after another regarding all aspects of aqua farming, including the size of the tank, involvement of union members, and management of the fisheries cooperative. The Q&A session lasted over an hour, showing how serious Jamaica is about expanding their fishery industry.

Jamaica Minister of Farming and Fisheries Invitation Program
(Visiting the Katsuyama Fishery Cooperative)
In the afternoon the same day, the group visited Chiba University Kashiwa-no-Ha campus’ Plant Factory where they received an overview of the facility from Center for Environment, Health and Field Sciences’ Head Professor Takagaki. Afterward Assistance Professor Lu Na gave them a tour of the factory.

At the end of the day, APIC President Shigeie hosted a welcome dinner for the visiting Minister and officials. Among the attendees were Ambassador Richards; Latin American and Caribbean Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director-General Ms. Kobayashi; Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ International Coordinator Mr. Kawakami; and previous Japanese Ambassadors to Jamaica Mr. Takase, Mr. Nakano, and Mr. Yamazaki, creating a lively atmosphere.

Jamaica Minister of Farming and Fisheries Invitation Program

Jamaica Minister of Farming and Fisheries Invitation Program
(At the Welcome Dinner)


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