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  • Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Karl Samuda, has reassured farmers who are members of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) that the Government will not abandon the organisation, even as it seeks to relinquish budgetary support.
  • “The JAS is far better equipped to stand on its own than most other organisations because it has very valuable assets and steady cash flow that can see it grow from strength to strength,” the Minister said.
  • He added that the JAS is as successful as similar organisations that “stand on their own”, such as the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA), Jamaica Exporters’ Association (JEA) and the All Island Cane Farmers Association.

Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Karl Samuda, has reassured farmers who are members of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) that the Government will not abandon the organisation, even as it seeks to relinquish budgetary support.

Mr. Samuda was speaking at the opening ceremony of the 63rd Hague Agricultural and Industrial Show in Trelawny on February 14.

“The JAS is far better equipped to stand on its own than most other organisations because it has very valuable assets and steady cash flow that can see it grow from strength to strength,” the Minister said.

He added that the JAS is as successful as similar organisations that “stand on their own”, such as the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA), Jamaica Exporters’ Association (JEA) and the All Island Cane Farmers Association.

The Minister said he wants to make it absolutely clear that one does not disconnect from an organisation that has led Jamaica’s agricultural thrust for 123 years.

“Indeed, let me make it also clear that the JAS preceded the Ministry of Agriculture. It was the JAS on which agriculture was built, so no one could simply just think of making a decision to disconnect from the important role that it plays in the development of agriculture,” Mr. Samuda argued.

The Minister said the notion that the JAS ought to stand on its own without financial support from the State was a longstanding concept. He reiterated that the Government is still in full support of the JAS, and its contribution as “an important organisation and an institution in Jamaica”.

“That the JAS should stand on its own without any involvement with Government in terms of capital requirement – money – to keep it going, is not a new idea,” Mr. Samuda explained.

“It preceded me as Minister, and, in fact, it is embraced by the leadership of the JAS in much the same way that other associations in other sectors manage their own internal affairs and their finances,” he added.

Mr. Samuda said no move concerning the relationship between the JAS and the Government would be made without due discussion, consultation and agreement between the JAS and the Ministry of Agriculture, and only after all parties are confident that the farmers’ organisation has been placed on a sound foundation.

“So, there is no need to fear,” the Minister said.