Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Floyd Green, says the Government is taking steps to make the process of getting land titles easier for farmers.
“The land-titling issue is a massive one. We passed some laws at the end of our last administration to make it easier for persons to get titles; what we have to do now is put them into action,” Mr. Green told farmers in attendance at the Ministry’s Listening Tour stop at the Lucea Anglican Church in Hanover, on October 9.
He informed that he had met with Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill, who is in charge of Land, to find strategies to simplify the process, noting that several farmers are having financial challenges in their businesses, due to the fact that they have no titles for the lands they utilise.
Mr. Green said the Government will have to look into the issue of leasing farmlands, as some farmers have been in those arrangements for several years.
“I am going to have to look into the land lease issue in relation to those lands that were distributed for agricultural purposes, because those people have been on the land from the 1970s and 1980s. We have to fix that,” the Minister emphasised.
Meanwhile, Mr. Green encouraged farmers to apply to the Sugar Company of Jamaica (SCJ) Holdings to utilise former sugar lands for other agricultural purposes, as the demand for the island’s produce overseas is great.
“We have [former sugar] lands that we want to put into active production, and some of those lands are suited for significant agriculture. The demand for our agricultural produce is significant; oftentimes the real challenge is that we are not producing the numbers to keep the flow consistent, and that is what we have to get to,” he noted.
During the event, Hanover farmers participated in question-and-answer sessions with the Minister and stakeholders from the Ministry.
The Listening Tour has been conceptualised to give farmers a platform to discuss their challenges and ideas with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. Stops will be made across all parishes.