MANDEVILLE — The Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) will be seeking to increase its revenues, with the help of a consultant to be paid by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
Making the announcement at Wednesday’s (July 13) 116th Annual General Meeting of the society at the Denbigh Showground, Clarendon, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Robert Montague, said the initiative will aid in transforming the JAS into an independent and viable farmers’ organisation.
He explained that a strategic review undertaken in 2008, aimed at transforming the society into a viable entity, included recommendations for changes to its structure and operations.
“The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, with support of the JAS, has now taken a decision to engage a consultant to review the commercial properties of the JAS, with a view to prepare a comprehensive five-year development plan on how best to utilise the assets. We want the JAS to make profits, the JAS must become profitable,” the Minister insisted.
The JAS has properties across the island, which Mr. Montague said must be used to work in the best interest of the organisation and the farmers. He indicated that when the group starts generating more income, there will be an end to Government subvention. Financial independence, he said, will result in greater focus on farming by the JAS.
President of the JAS, Glendon Harris, confirmed that the JAS is the beneficiary of a grant to engage a consultant.
“We are also making great strides, as we work towards the infrastructural development of the Sav-La-Mar property, the Portland property and Compton House in Manchester,” he said.
“I will continue to encourage each branch society to become active participants in economic projects within the parishes. Evaluate the resources and opportunities for growth within your communities, and work closely with the parish managers and key players in the related sectors to play your part in improving your communities,” Mr. Harris stated.
He also pledged JAS support for programmes, by the Agriculture Ministry, supporting the farming sector. He said the Ministry’s praedial larceny prevention initiative will continue to receive support from the JAS.
By GARFIELD L. ANGUS, JIS Reporter