JIS News

Minister of Agriculture, Roger Clarke has described the Ministry’s exposition, which was held at the Old Hope Road head office on September 29, as “tremendously successful”.
In an interview with JIS News, Minister Clarke said that the Ministry saw it fit to place in public view the various offerings of the Ministry. “What we have put on display,” he noted, “is the changing face of agriculture. Our farmers have to understand that this is a new era.and we have to rise to those new realities”.
“For instance,” he pointed out, “we have pigs nine weeks old, and goats that within six months are weighing from 30 to 40 pounds and it is not about genetic modification. it is about getting the genes from the best and putting it with the best in order to get the best results”.
Buzzing with excitement, with agricultural exhibitors and patrons alike, the exposition lived up to its expectations of showcasing the “best of agriculture” with displays of Pure Bred pigs and Nubian and Boer goats, various plant varieties, indigenous feed blends, and various products manufactured by the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), such as breadfruit chips, fruit cakes with otaheite apples as prune substitute, pancake syrups, sauces and bammies.
Minister Clarke expressed concern that many people still viewed agriculture in a “certain” light. “They relate us (farmers) to a man with a hoe and fork, not understanding that it is a highly technical field of we (the Ministry) are doing work in a number of areas seen in the development of new disease resistant plant varieties, coming with biological methods of controlling pests and diseases, among other things,” he pointed out.
A number of persons, including students, farmers, businessmen and women, housewives, teachers, agriculturalists and exporters turned out at the event.
Suzette Brown, a farmer from St. Elizabeth said that she made the trip primarily to see the exposition. She gave it high marks, mainly for the kind of information that she received.
“I have learnt a lot of things, for instance about goat rearing,” she said, “and about using up products (organic) for mulching, instead of wasting it .there are a lot of new ideas here.and I will be going back to share the new information with the other farmers of my Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) branch in South St. Elizabeth”.
Noting also that the exposition went “extremely well”, Jasmin Holness, Deputy Research Director at the Ministry’s Bodles Research Station, said that the exposition was a good method of showcasing the offerings of the Ministry.
“I think a lot of people are surprised, some of them did not even know that the Ministry had these services, and these units that were functioning in this way. They just saw the Ministry as some amorphous entity.and did not realize that the Ministry functioned in various areas,” she told JIS News.
Among the exhibitors were the Veterinary and Fisheries Divisions, RADA, the Plant Quarantine Unit, the Forestry Department, the Coffee Industry Board and the Ministry’s Access to Information Unit. The musical group, ‘Caribbean Cliff’ brought the curtains down on the event, while patrons continued to enjoy samples of shrimp, conch, lobster and fish.

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