Farmers reaping benefits – Dr. Panton


Chief Technical Director in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Dr. Marc Panton, has said that farmers are reaping the benefits of the recent investment that the Government has put into the agricultural sector.
“We have improved our marketing system through the Jamaica Agriculture Market Information System (JAMIS) and that has been quite successful,” he told the Mid-Island Chapter of Credit Unions Annual Awards Banquet, held at the Golf View Hotel, in Mandeville, on October 30.
“We have been able to equip our marketing officers, our Extension Officers with hand held devices – smart phones. They are able to upload real time information to our central database, and we are able to disseminate that information out to our clients, hotels and supermarkets,” Dr. Panton stated.
The Chief Technical Director said that the installed information system has enabled the Ministry to send out over 6,000 e-mails weekly to buyers of agricultural produce, and that is putting farmers in a position to offload their produce quickly.
“We have been able to infuse a certain amount of technology into agriculture; we have been looking at our greenhouse farming; we have been using specialised tools to try and move away from the traditional tools, to allow our farmers to grow and become more efficient in what they are doing,” Dr. Panton said.
He pointed out that the Government is addressing some of the postharvest losses by partnering with the private sector.
“As we aim to strengthen and build the capacity of our farmers, we want to know that our farmers can generate wealth, and that they look at agriculture as a business,” he said.
Dr. Panton said that with the new thrust behind agriculture, the credit unions need to embark on a more attractive way of working with farmers.
“I commend the credit unions for their work with the farmers. We need to think clearly about how to attract more farmers to the credit unions, and now is a good time, as agriculture is a viable investment opportunity,” he argued.

JIS Social