Agriculture State Minister Outlines Plans to Address Problems in Industry


Minister of State for Agriculture, J.C. Hutchinson, has outlined a number of initiatives being undertaken by his Ministry to address some of the problems being faced in the agricultural sector.
Among the plans he outlined at the opening ceremony of the Montpelier Agricultural Show in St. James on Monday (March 24), are an increase in the number of Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) extension officers; the establishment of parish agricultural advisory boards and the formation of new community organizations to deal specifically with agriculture.
“Come next month (April), we are going to be increasing the amount of extension officers throughout the length and breadth of Jamaica, because it is very important for you the farmers to know what is taking place, especially where you have research going on, so you can get the information which has to be passed on to you through the extension service,” he stated.
He said that the Ministry has also put in place parish advisory boards, which will “link the farmers to the Ministry of Agriculture to monitor everything that is taking place in agriculture in each parish.”
These boards, he noted further, will act as a monitoring mechanism to guarantee transparency and accountability for the distribution of agricultural products through RADA in every parish.
With regard to the formation of new community organizations to deal specifically with agricultural issues, Mr. Hutchinson said that these bodies will be expected to monitor production in the districts, and give feedback to the Ministry so as to facilitate better marketing strategies.
“Because we are going to be linking with the hotels, with the exporters, and when we know how much you are going to be producing every week, we can send a truck every week to take off what produce you have,” he explained.
He said that such a system is already in place in some sections of St. Elizabeth, and the plan is to extend it to all agricultural producing districts, so as to assist the farmers with the marketing of their products.
He informed that plans are also in place to review the Praedial Larceny Act, while the Ministry will continue to promote the use of technology in agriculture, especially greenhouse technology.

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