Farmers to Get Help From Ministry

Photo: JIS Photographer Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson

Story Highlights

  • Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson, says the Ministry will be working to assist farmers, to ensure there is continuous growth in the sector.
  • He said that RADA’s function is to “establish or expand or promote the establishment or expansion of other bodies to carry out those activities, whether or not under the control or partial control of the Authority; and give assistance to such bodies or persons”.
  • To further bolster the Government’s efforts, he said the Ministry has formed strategic alliances with organisations such as H&L Agro; Potato and Onion Producers’ Association (POPA); and Newport-Fersan (Jamaica) Ltd., among others, to provide potato and onion seeds, along with fertilisers, to those farmers who are a part of an organised body.

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson, says the Ministry will be working to assist farmers, to ensure there is continuous growth in the sector.

He notes that the Ministry has been looking at making seedlings for Irish potato, onion and Scotch bonnet pepper available to individuals as part of an Agricultural Push Start Programme, and that proper structures must be in place.

Speaking at the National Irish Potato and Onion Programme sensitisation meeting on November 2, held at the Mocho Community Centre, St. James, he urged farmers to organise themselves into groups that are affiliated to the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA).

He said that RADA’s function is to “establish or expand or promote the establishment or expansion of other bodies to carry out those activities, whether or not under the control or partial control of the Authority; and give assistance to such bodies or persons”.

The Minister said through RADA, farmers will be better able to benefit from programmes implemented by the Government.

“For us to move forward… we need to form organisations affiliated to RADA. We can have the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), the Benevolent Society, the Production and Marketing Organisation (PMO), or we can have ordinary farmers’ organisations, but what we want to know is that there is a structure through which we can work. If there is not a structure, then we are going to fall apart,” he added.

To further bolster the Government’s efforts, he said the Ministry has formed strategic alliances with organisations such as H&L Agro; Potato and Onion Producers’ Association (POPA); and Newport-Fersan (Jamaica) Ltd., among others, to provide potato and onion seeds, along with fertilisers, to those farmers who are a part of an organised body.

He said these organisations have been asked to work along with RADA to ensure transparency.

The Minister also encouraged farmers to identify available government lands that can be used for farming.

“If you know any little piece of land that belongs to Government… I am prepared to put any of you who are genuine farmers on the land so you can cultivate. No land (that is arable) must be left idle in this country,” Mr. Hutchinson emphasised.

He said that despite the fluctuations within the agricultural sector, St. James has been performing well, and encouraged the farmers to continue working towards the growth and development of the country.

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