JIS News

The annual Denbigh Agricultural Show is projected to earn a surplus of $9 million this year.
Speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on July 17, President of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), Senator Norman Grant, said the surplus would be ploughed back into the Denbigh showground, to transform it into a year-round attraction.
The agricultural show will be staged from Emancipation Day, Friday, August 1 to Sunday, August 3 under the theme: ‘Grow what you eat, Eat what you grow.’
With an entry fee of $600 daily for adults and $300 for children, along with several sponsors, revenue from the event has been projected at $42 million, $1 million less than last year’s take.
A significant 60 per cent of revenue normally comes from sponsorship, in cash and kind, according to Senator Grant, including $5 million from the Ministry of Agriculture and $3.2 million from Digicel, which has committed $12 million over the next three to four years.
The President explained that the show would cost $33 million to stage, $2 million more than last year. The major cost, he said, has been the repair of buildings, valued at some $20 million, as a result of persistent vandalism, including scrap metal thieves.
Another costly item is security, taking away some $5 million to protect property, exhibits and the thousands of patrons, including the expected 35,000 children, on the 52-acre site during the three-day event.
Senator Grant said the Society would be up to the task of the logistical challenges, including arrangements to accommodate major traffic inflows into the May Pen community in Clarendon.
He assured that there would be adequate parking and warned that unlike previous years, vehicles would not be allowed on the site, clearing the way for patrons to move freely and safely from one attraction to another.
A big feature at the show will be the wide variety of foods available at the food courts, the tourism village, the Denbigh jerk city and in the cook off segment.
Vendors are expected to demonstrate the many sumptuous dishes that can be made from local products, including cassava, which is being pushed by Agriculture Minister, Dr. Christopher Tufton, and irish potato.
Emphasizing the importance of eating locally grown crops, in the context of the current food challenge, Senator Grant lamented the US$730 million that is spent yearly to import food. He argued that this figure could be reduced by 50 per cent if Jamaicans eat what is grown locally.