Jamaica seeks cheaper Venezuela fertilizers

11 January 2008 22:18  [Source: ICIS news]

CARACAS (ICIS news)--Jamaica is seeking low-cost fertilizers from Venezuela in an attempt to curb increases in local food prices, official sources said on Friday.

Jamaica was attempting to minimise the impact of higher global costs and demand for agrochemicals that are driving up food prices, the Jamaica Information Service said.

Jamaican officials discussed the possibility of buying subsidised fertilizers from Venezuela during a regional meeting of heads of states last month in Cuba.

Jamaica officials intend to bring up the issue again when a Venezuelan delegation visits the Caribbean island later this month, the Jamaica Information Service reported.

Agriculture Minister Christopher Tufton told reporters that his office was in ongoing discussions with several potential suppliers but that Venezuela seemed to offer the best opportunity because of its abundant raw materials and President Hugo Chavez's interest in regional integration.

"Given [Venezuela's] petroleum resource base and expertise, we are hoping that we can work out an arrangement to purchase at a reduced margin or subsidised price the raw material to bag fertilizer here and pass on those savings to the consumers," said Tufton.

Earlier this week, the Jamaican government announced it was subsidising five basic food items in order to soften the impact of rising food prices.

In some cases, some staples, such as bread, have risen as much as 10%.

By: Jasmina Kelemen
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