Country Profile

Jamaica is located south of Cuba and west of Haiti. It is the largest of the English-speaking islands in the Caribbean, covering a total land area of 11,000 km² (4,411 mi²). The interior is very mountainous with the Blue Mountain Peak, rising to a height of 2,256 m. The average annual rainfall is 1,000 mm (36 in). Jamaica’s economy is heavily dependent on services, which accounted for 64% of GDP in 2009, and the country continues to derive most of its foreign exchange from tourism, remittances, and bauxite / alumina. During 2009 the Jamaican agricultural sector recorded some 13% growth and also showed decline of 75% in fresh food imports.  This has been attributed to the “Eat what we grow” campaign launched by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. Agriculture contributed 6% to the GDP in 2009, and still employs some 17% of the population. Investment in the sector is being encouraged as a viable option particularly since more traditional investment areas have been affected by the global recession. Leading commodities include sugar, bananas, coffee, cocoa, citrus, pimento, yams, vegetables, poultry, goats, milk, crustaceans, and molluscs.

CARDI Jamaica Overview

CARDI Jamaica is involved in diverse areas of research and development in support of the Region’s agriculture. These areas include the commodities Sweet Potatoes and Small Ruminants, the thematic areas of Natural Resource Management and Emerging Issues / ‘New Agriculture’. The Jamaica Unit is an important site for the development of the regional sweet potato industry. It is also one of two Units (the other one being Trinidad and Tobago) involved in the development of the regional small ruminant industry. The other areas of activities are soil and water management, undercover/protected agriculture (greenhouse), herbals, organic agriculture, invasive species and climate change.

Work Programme

Work Programme for the Medium Term 2008-2010

Commodity development – Crops

Sweet potatoes

  • Characterise and select sweet potato varieties for different value added products
  • Determine the performance of varieties in various agro-eco zones
  • Evaluate and transfer various trapping and IPM tactics to monitor and manage sweet potato pests
  • Identify and transfer low resource, cost effective post harvest techniques for sweet potato

Soil and water management

  • Identify and transfer sustainable practices for cultivating crops on reclaimed bauxite soils

Commodity development – Livestock

Small ruminants

  • Develop and transfer feed and feeding systems technologies
  • Demonstrate small ruminant value added production
  • Develop and distribute improved breeds
  • Transfer production systems tech-packs to industry stakeholders

Emerging Issues

Undercover / protected agriculture (greenhouse)

  • Validate, demonstrate and transfer commercial feasibility of producing callaloo under shade house
  • Develop ventilation systems for tropical greenhouses


  • Determine suitable agronomic practices for the commercial production of selective herbal species


  • Develop and transfer organic farming systems

Invasive species initiatives

  • Support MoA initiatives to manage invasive species

Climate change

  • Coordinated programmes with climate change and disaster management agencies
  • Determine commodities within the identified land resources that could be competitive

Information systems and services


  • Develop and evaluate a Life Long Learning for Framers (L3F) model suited to Jamaica

Country Highlight Reports

For highlights of work by the CARDI office in Jamaica, Click here


Contact Information

CARDI Representative

Gregory Robin(Dr) – Agronomist   (Enable Javascript to see the email address)

Contact Information

CARDI Jamaica
P.O. Box 113
Mona Campus
Kingston 7
Phone: (876) 927-1231
Fax: (876) 927-2099
Email: (Enable Javascript to see the email address)


Country Partners

Partners and Collaborators


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