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Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton is urging farmers and food producers to price their goods fairly in order to ensure their own viability in the marketplace.
Dr. Tufton made the call while addressing a ‘Farmers Forum’ organised by the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) at the Browns Town Anglican Church Hall in St. Ann, on Thursday (Nov. 5)
“Food must be priced at a level where farmers can make a return on their investment or else farming will not be sustainable and people won’t go into farming,” he said.
Dr. Tufton noted that the pricing of agricultural produce must be a function of efficiency, and productivity, as it must ensure that farmers make a return on their investment.
“If they (farmers) can’t take home something to afford their light bill, their water rate and their mortgage payment, then they are going to wonder why they should continue farming,” he said.
Minister Tufton praised the efforts of the RADA field officers, stating that they were a valuable asset, and called on farmers to utilize field services more, in order to ensure their profitability.
He also highlighted the need for farmers organize themselves into small groups and support the Production Marketing Organisations (PMO’s) set up by the Ministry in each parish.
“Agriculture is moving in the right direction, there’s a lot more that we can do and will do as it’s a work in progress. We’re going to be introducing a lot more programmes next year and I believe if we do it right and combine all our efforts we will see farmers moving from a marginal position to earning a return on their inputs,” he said.
Minister Tufton met with farmers as part of an island wide tour to hear their as well as that of food producers, and other industry stakeholders.
He also met with Board members and staff of the RADA parish office, the PMO, and officers of the Jamaica Agricultural Society, as well as hoteliers. He also toured agro-processing and a fruit fly mass-trapping manufacturing farm in the parish.

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