The Ministry of Agricultural and Fisheries has provided $1 million in support for the staging of the 2012 Hague Agricultural and Food Show in Trelawny.
State Minister, Hon. Ian Hayles, presented the cheque to the organisers at the launch of the event at the Breezes Hotel and Spa near Falmouth on Jan. 31, where several of the main sponsors also handed over funds or gave commitment for support.
This year’s show is slated for Ash Wednesday (February 22), under the theme: ‘Research, Development and Marketing for Sustainable Rural Agriculture’.
Mr. Hayles, in his address, said the funding was in keeping with a commitment by the previous government, which is strongly supported by the current administration, to assist in the staging of all agricultural shows across the island, as a means of boosting the sector.
“This new government is committed to the Hague Agricultural and Food Show and we are committed to the farmers of Trelawny… this show is an important cultural event in this part of the country hence, it is very important what you do here,” he stated.
He informed that discussions are underway to see how cruise ship passengers can be encouraged to attend the event.
“I would want to ensure that this year, we do everything to promote the farmers of this country and farmers of Trelawny in particular, so we can have one of the best shows recorded in this your 57th staging,” Mr. Hayles stated.
Meanwhile, he said that efforts will be intensified to encourage increased consumption of local produce, noting that the food import bill is far too high.
“One of the things that we plan to do this year, is work with the Ministry of Education in ensuring that in the near future, the agricultural sector can place two million litres of milk and eggs in the School Feeding Programme.
“A lot of the stuff we consume in this country are imports, because we don’t see it best to support our local farmers and our local industries. When we begin to buy Jamaican, we are telling the farmers a thing or two, because the schools benefit, the church benefits, the communities and the entire country benefits,” Mr. Hayles pointed out.
He called on farmers to continue to give of their best and to unite in making this year’s staging of the Hague Agricultural and Food Show one of the finest in its history.
By Glenis Rose, JIS Reporter