MONTEGO BAY — The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries will be playing a more direct role in the staging of agricultural shows across the island, with a minimum $500,000 in sponsorship committed for each event.
With approximately six major agricultural shows held across the island during the course of any one year, including the Denbigh Agricultural Show in Clarendon, the amount comes to about $3,000,000 per annum.
Portfolio Minister, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, who made the announcement at the opening of the Montpelier Agricultural and Industrial Show on April 25 at the Montpelier showground, St. James, said that the move comes after meetings with the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), and other stakeholders.
He said that the financial input is geared at assisting the main organiser of these events, the JAS, to achieve the desired effect of putting the farmers and their efforts on centre stage.
“It’s an agreement that we will sign off on in another week or two in a press conference, which will see both the JAS and the Ministry collaborating with a number of stakeholders across Jamaica linked to the agricultural sector, in rebranding and restructuring our agricultural shows, or certainly the main ones that we have (including) the Denbigh Agricultural Show, which is the premier event each year,” he informed.
He stated that the $500,000 is just a minimum, noting that the Ministry will contribute more if possible, as it has a stake in showcasing the output of the nation’s farmers for the development of the sector. He indicated that the $5 million per annum committed to the Denbigh Show, will remain in place.
The Minister, while delivering the main address at the Hague Agricultural Show in Trelawny on March 9, lamented the poor organisation of the event, and the large number of non-agricultural imported items on display.
He stated then that he would not attend any more agricultural shows until an agreement had been reached with organisers, in particular the JAS, to ensure that the shows are focused on the wellbeing and efforts of the farmers of the country.
The annual Easter Monday Montpelier show is staged by the St. James Association of Branch Societies of the JAS in collaboration with RADA.
By BRYAN MILLER, JIS REGIONAL OFFICE