In the News

In the News



Agriculture minister pushes for increase production

Observer ReporterThursday,
October 25, 2001

IN The wake of the September 11 terrorist attack on the United States of America, Jamaica's agriculture minister, Roger Clarke, issued a challenge to local farmers to produce more and rely less on imports.

"This (attack on the US) is saying to us that we must prepare ourselves. Because, if the day should come when the ship or the plane cannot bring us foreign food, we should be able to feed ourselves," Clarke remarked. Clarke threw out this challenge while handing over a Massey Ferguson Rubber Wheel Tractor to farmers in South West St Ann last Friday.

The tractor which values $1.4 million, was made available through the Government's Social Economic and Support Programme (SESP).

In making the presentation at the St D'Acre Community Centre, Clarke said member of Parliament for the area, Glenville Shaw, had advised him that the farmers were badly in need of a tractor to assist with tillage. He added that the addition of the tractor would go a far way in helping them to lift production.

"In this age of modern technology, I know the difficulty you face coping with liberalisation, the competitive market place, and even praedial larceny. But with all that, as farmers of this country, you continue to be resilient, and with some assistance you will survive," Clarke said in his address to the farmers.

Noting also that farmers overall had produced large quantities of food including yams, corn, chicken and pork in "past years," Clarke urged consumers to support them as they continued "to work to benefit themselves and the country."

He then urged farmers to unite in order to negotiate good prices for their produce, while promising at the same time to work with the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) "to set up a proper marketing structure to help you dispose of your crops."

The Agriculture Minister also stated that he is negotiating with Kaiser Jamaica Bauxite Company to make additional plots of farming land available to farmers. "I am also in the process of seeking help with some seeds and fertilisers," he added.