PORT ANTONIO — The Governor General, His Excellency Sir Patrick Allen, has reiterated the need for increased food production, to ensure Jamaica's independence and economic survival.
Giving the main address at the annual St. Mary Agri Expo, at Gray's Inn Sports Club, Annotto Bay, on Easter Monday April 25, the Governor General said current realities worldwide have made it incumbent on Jamaicans to produce more of what they eat, as it is no longer guaranteed that other nations can be relied on to supply what is needed.
Stating that a number of factors have converged to create a shortage of food production worldwide, he said that reality has resulted in a steep rise in food prices worldwide, pushing approximately 44 million people into poverty.
He said Jamaicans need to recognize this reality, and make a special effort to increase food production, which will not only enable the country to save foreign exchange, but will also play a significant role in ensuring that food security is achieved.
In encouraging farmers to continue to diversify agricultural production, he praised them for the resilience they have displayed over the years, despite the challenges which confront them.
Declaring that scientific research must always be used as a guide for the development and extension of the country’s agricultural production, he said history has shown that if the nation invests in agriculture, there is no limit to what can be achieved, as evidenced by the development of the Jamaica Hope cattle in Jamaica during the last century.
In congratulating the organizers of the show for the success it has achieved, the Governor General described it as a wonderful and special event, which provides entertainment for patrons, while serving as a reminder of the need to appreciate the importance of growing the food we eat.
The show marked the 26th staging of the St. Mary Agri Expo, organised by the St. Mary branch of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) and showcasing the parish’s agricultural produce, as well as displaying value added products manufactured in St. Mary and other parts of the country.
Major sponsor was the Jamaica Producers Group, with support provided by a number of other entities including the Cocoa Industry Board, the Coffee Industry Board, the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Grace Kennedy, Seprod, the Jamaica Livestock Association and the Coconut Industry Board.
By ASTON G. BAILEY, JIS REGIONAL OFFICE