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President of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), Senator Norman Grant, has urged Jamaicans to support the agricultural industry by buying locally grown produce.
Senator Grant, who was speaking at the opening of the 50th annual Hague Agricultural Show, held on February 9 in Falmouth, Trelawny, said that the JAS, through its central marketing system, was seeking to make these produce readily available to the Jamaican consumer.
“With the help given to us by the Ministry (of Agriculture), the onus is on us now to get out there and ensure that the crops that have been harvested by our farmers are marketed,” he said, adding that, “the days when our farmers planted their crops and were not able to market them are vastly behind us.”
He pointed out that the intention of the JAS was to provide an effective marketing system for the farmers and in the future, venture into value-added processing.
Turning to the problem of praedial larceny, Senator Grant stated that the JAS would be working with the police, the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) and the farmers to stamp out farm theft.
He informed that the Agriculture Ministry had given the JAS $5 million to print some 30,000 receipt books and the printing of the books would begin within the next few weeks.
Persons selling or transporting agricultural produce must have receipts to indicate that they have legitimately purchased/acquired the items.
Senator Grant appealed to the farmers to capitalize on the marketing opportunities and to strive for the development of the sector.
“I feel very confident that with our land mass, we in Jamaica can certainly be the ‘China’ of this region and prepare ourselves to feed several thousands as they look forward to World Cup Cricket in 2007,” he concluded.
Others participating in the opening exercise were: Minister of Agriculture, Roger Clarke; Custos of Trelawny, Roylan Barrett, and Mayor, Jonathan Bartley.