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Hotel industry increasing consumption of local produce — Tourism Linkages Network

Saturday, December 15, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Tourism Linkages Network says it has been reaping success through its efforts at strengthening the relationship between the tourism and the agricultural sectors, resulting in an increase in the demand and consumption of local produce by the hospitality industry.

A major thrust, which has been bearing fruit, is the Tourism Agri-Linkages Exchange (ALEX) pilot project, which has assisted 400 local farmers with the marketing of approximately 360,000 kilograms of produce valued at over $39 million, the group said.

ALEX, which is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Tourism and the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), is the first online platform of its kind in the country.

It brings hoteliers in direct contact with the farmers and, in turn, reduces leakages and retains more of the economic benefits of tourism in Jamaica.

Director of the Tourism Linkages Network, Carolyn McDonald-Riley, explained that ALEX will connect the farmer with the purchasing manager of a hotel.

“We are aware that a number of our farmers are not yet on an electronic platform, so the agro-marketing brokers at the centre will assist them through the process. So, the farmers are able to call in and indicate how much produce they have and the brokers are able to put it on the site, giving the hospitality sector access to the information,” she explained.

The platform, which can be found at agrilinkages.com, allows farmers to plan in order to adequately address crop seasonality and provide information as it relates to geographic location of specific produce.

On December 12, the Agri-Linkages Exchange Centre was opened at RADA's St Andrew Parish Office, located on Old Hope Road.

The centre will register and link more farmers directly with buyers in the hotel industry, and build out the supply side of the tourism sector.

It will help to enhance communication between farmers and purchasers, improve the availability of market information and give farmers feedback, which will better influence what they produce.

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