JIS News

Prime Minister P.J. Patterson has said that Jamaican farmers stood to benefit from the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME), as a wider regional market would be provided for the sale of local produce.
The Prime Minister, who was addressing the closing of the three-day Denbigh Agricultural Show in May Pen on August 1, said that farmers must take advantage of the opportunities provided by the CSME, to effectively compete on a global scale.
“When Europe removes the Agricultural Product Protocol it is going to mean a new opportunity for several industries including the diary and livestock industries,” he said, adding that, “as a developing country, Jamaica has to fight for a level playing field.”
The Prime Minister said further, that the sector must be reformed with more young people becoming involved. “I am pleased as I go around to see the technological advances that are being made. I am pleased to see how much is being invested in new research and lending agencies must be prepared to make monies available to the farmers at reasonable and attractive terms,” he stated.
Turning to the various agricultural products on display, the Prime Minister congratulated the farmers for their resilience in producing such high quality produce despite three hurricanes and an extended period of drought.
“What formidable people our Jamaican farmers are that after a year of unprecedented drought, that after Dennis and after Emily, we could have had the parish pavilions and could have put on show, the fine goods of Jamaican produce that we see all around us today,” he stated.
In terms of relief following the hurricanes, the Prime Minister pointed out that the remoteness of some communities had made it difficult to provide all the infrastructural, physical and social facilities necessary.
“Some places, it is going to take us months before we can restore the roads, not because of a lack of political will but simply (because) it takes a combination of money, of technical resources and of planning,” he said, adding that even as the immediate relief situation was being dealt with, the government would be finalising long term planning for the physical development of Jamaica to deal with drainage, gullies, riverbanks and shores.
He also urged farmers to desist from cutting down trees and setting fires to clear hillside land, to prevent further environmental degradation.
Commenting on calls for the resumption of flogging to address praedial larceny, Mr. Patterson was firm that flogging would never resume in Jamaica under his leadership. He noted that, flogging was “reminiscent of a brutality we want to put behind us”.
“Let us deal seriously with the praedial larceny. Let us mobilize the communities to respond to it but we cannot resort to brute force to do that which is wrong and that which is evil,” he stated.

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