Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Roger Clarke, has urged the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) to reposition itself, in order to better serve its members, and play a more leading role in advancing the local sector.
Addressing the organisation's 117th annual general meeting at the Denbigh showground, May Pen, Clarendon, on July 11, Mr. Clarke called on the JAS to "rise up and be the true farmers' organisation that you ought to be."
While acknowledging that the entity has been a significant stakeholder in the local agricultural sector, and that its record spoke volumes of its successes, Mr. Clarke argued that “you (JAS) are only as good as your last act."
The Minister further contended that while history is good "from a nostalgic standpoint," this will not propel the organisation to higher levels of achievement.
"I submit to you…that unless the JAS rises to the occasion, then you will forever be a shadow of your glory days. You are not less industrious and resilient than any other farmers (organisation) in the world. You, as a (group) must lead,” the Minister emphasised.
Pointing out that the JAS’ stewardship would be under scrutiny, Mr. Clarke told the members that, “you will have to work with me in a very serious way."
“What I want to see is that at the end of the day, every farmer in Jamaica can stand up and be proud and say that ‘I am a farmer’. We have to put agriculture in a (state) where people must get up and respect us. It can happen and it must happen,” the Minister said.