Govt. Committed to Empowering Farmers


Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture, Errol Ennis, has said that the government was committed to empowering farmers to produce more, and to do so efficiently, so that farming could become more profitable and consumers could purchase their produce at competitive prices.
“It is a cycle of progress. If you increase your production and lower your costs, you will be able to sell more, more people will be able to buy your crops and you will make more profit,” Mr. Ennis said.
He stressed that this approach was the answer to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) mission of providing food for all in the next 10 years.
The State Minister was speaking at the World Food Day National Church Service, at the United Church of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, at Thicketts in St. Ann, yesterday (Oct. 12). The day will be observed on October 16 under the theme, ‘International Alliance Against Hunger’.
Mr. Ennis said that improved production was the only road to prosperity for the more than 150,000 farmers from rural communities who depended entirely on agriculture for a living.
He cited recent surveys which revealed that more than 80 per cent of the food sold in markets and supermarkets was produced by small farmers, and that the Ministry continued to form partnerships with groups which provide technical assistance, and research institutions, both locally and overseas, “to enable us to assist farmers, through projects aimed at increasing their efficiency and productivity”.
The State Minister urged the farmers to visit their Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) parish office to find out the conditions under which they could benefit from the Ministry.
In her message, the FAO Director General, H. E. Clarendon, said with millions of people in developing countries suffering from chronic hunger, what was needed was the political will, where nations could unite to tackle the underlying causes of hunger in all its manifestations, through political programmes.
Read by Gladstone Barrett Jr., Assistant FAO Representative in Jamaica, the message said the theme for World Food Day was very relevant and necessary. “This Alliance provides a forum for advocacy, and it encourages partners to offer assistance, whether training, policy advice, or help in developing hunger reduction strategies,” Miss Clarendon said.
As part of the day’s activities, there was a tree-planting exercise, where six ornamental trees were planted by individuals, including R.O. Walters, Custos of the parish; Dr. Richard Harrison, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, and Rev. Dr. Malcolm Scott, Pastor for the church.
Others taking part in the church service were, Rev. Joan Scott, Associate Pastor for the church; Winston Lawrence, Councillor for the area; and students from the Thicketts Basic School.

JIS Social