President of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), Senator Norman Grant, has emphasised the need for a Central Marketing Company for farmers within the organisation, adding that farmers must be able to go to their fields and focus only on production.
“When you produce your crops, there is supposed to be an organisation that takes it off you, an organisation that you have ownership in,” he said.
The President was addressing the half-yearly meeting of the St. James Branch Societies of the JAS in Maroon Town, recently.
Outlining his concept of the Central Marketing Company, he said it would be a limited liability company, owned by the JAS, but as it grew it would be offering shares to the farmers of Jamaica, as it should be a solely owned farmers organisation. “We are talking to the exporters, and over time this central marketing company will be exporting also. This company will also be having its own product on the market,” he added.
The President warned, however, that the Central Marketing Company would not be going into business to guarantee prices, as it would be purchasing crops at market prices. He stressed that whatever benefits gained by the company by way of trading, would be transferred to the farmers.
He reiterated that a pilot project for the establishment of a Central Marketing Company would be set up in the parish of St. Elizabeth very soon.
Senator Grant pointed out that the present administration of the JAS was working with various organisations and sectors with a view to repositioning the JAS and agriculture in Jamaica, and that very soon, details of the alliances would be announced.
He urged the farmers to work closely with the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), as when things were properly co-ordinated between the Authority and the JAS, the RADA officers would be advising the farmers what to plant, when to plant and how much to plant, to ensure a profit for the farmers.