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Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Donovan Stanberry, launched Farmers’ Month activities Wednesday (April 7), with a charge to farmers’ organisations to renew and restructure themselves.
Explaining his call, during the launch at the Jamaica Agricultural Society’s (JAS) office in downtown Kingston, Mr. Stanberry noted that oganisations, such as the JAS, needed to divorce themselves from commercial ctivities.
“Certain things demand some specific knowledge. Those who are owners of hotels don’t try to run them. Those who are owners of aeroplanes don’t try to fly them. I am saying to farmer organisations, renew yourselves and get proper management ….We cannot afford to be pastoral in our management style. It’s about making money; it’s about commercial principles,” he stated.
Mr. Stanberry said the JAS was at a juncture where its functions needed to be redefined, and that the Government and the Society are in discussions regarding its restructuring, to make it a bona fide farmers’ organisation independent of Government.
Also speaking at the launch, President of the JAS, Glendon Harris, bemoaned the fact that farming is seen as an occupation of last resort by many, as he highlighted the critical role the sector plays in development.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Donovan Stanberry, delivering the main address at the launch of Farmers’ Month activities at the Jamaica Agricultural Society’s headquarters in downtown Kingston, Wednesday (April 7).

Mr. Harris also praised farmers across the island, whom he described as “hardworking, tenacious and resilient” people, providing one of the most basic and essential services known to man.
He noted that Farmers’ Month, first celebrated in 1982, was an important vehicle to highlight the contribution of farmers to nation building. However, Mr. Harris added that, there was need to further empower the farmers, by providing them with the necessary infrastructure and training to be able to produce at the highest level.
Farmers from various parishes were presented with plaques for outstanding contribution to the agricultural sector. They were: Calvin Washington, St. James; Ivy Brown, Kingston and St. Andrew; Ericson Campbell, St. Thomas; Trevor Peart, Manchester; Enid Purunda, St. Elizabeth; Terrence James, Hanover; Nathan Livingston, St. Ann; Zedekiah Mignott, St. Mary; Edris Jones Moore, Portland; Charles Harris Burrell, Clarendon; Hernel Hines, Trelawny; Jimmy Jackson, Westmoreland; and Melzader Robinson, St. Catherine.