Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson, has called on farmers to register with the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), in order to reap the many benefits and support that can be sourced through the entity.
The State Minister made the call as he addressed the second staging of the Westmoreland Parish Expo and Agricultural Show, which was staged on the Mannings High School grounds in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland, recently.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson (left), examines some of the goats on display at the Westmoreland Parish Expo and Agricultural Show, at Mannings High School, in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland, recently.
Mr. Hutchinson said that for too long, a wide cross section of persons have been fraudulently disguising themselves as farmers and receiving assistance and benefits intended for genuine farmers, who were making “noble efforts to keep the industry alive.”
“Anybody or any farmer who desires assistance in agriculture must be registered with RADA before the assistance can be given through the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), or through the promotions and marketing organisations within the various communities. We do this, because in the past many persons would come and say they are farmers and collect bags of fertiliser and other benefits and then sell them, while the genuine farmers get nothing,” he noted.
The State Minister said that plans were underway to change such a system and that strict monitoring would immediately be instituted by the Ministry. He called on all farmers to ensure that they are appropriately registered and have their official cards as proof.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson (left), is presented with a fruit basket by Ms. Nadian Anderson (centre), of the Social Development Commission (SDC), during the Westmoreland Parish Expo and Agricultural Show, which was held on the Mannings High School grounds, in Savanna-la-Mar, recently. At right is Chairman at the function, Victor Drum.
Mr. Hutchinson said that strategies are being employed to encourage more young people to get involved in the industry, such as assisting them with financial support.
“Many young people genuinely want to go into farming, but do not have the collateral. There are also many others who are in farming and want to expand, but face certain challenges, such as securities. We are therefore negotiating with a number of financial institutions to provide the necessary financing and other support for young people and older farmers to expand their production,” Mr. Hutchinson told the farmers in attendance.
He congratulated organisers of the expo as well as the many exhibitors who showcased the rich agricultural heritage and business opportunities that exist in Westmoreland.