JIS News

Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, has said the Government remains committed to improving the lot of the Jamaican farmer, through continuous innovations, designed to foster the viability of the sector.
Speaking at the 114th annual general meeting of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), at the Denbigh show grounds in Clarendon on July 8, he informed that the Government is cognisant of the fact that in order to revolutionise the sector, several measures need to be implemented and maintained, as standard procedure. Several of these, he pointed out, had already been put in place, as efforts continue to revamp a sector which has always been one of the chief earners of revenue for the country.
“Government, for the past one and a half years, has done many things to improve the farmers’ situation, and improve his capacity to earn,” he argued.
Among these, he noted, was the training of farmers across the island in best practices, guaranteed to improve the efficiency of production, resulting in greater yields.
“We trained over 500 farmers last year in best practices, under a productivity programme that was created,” the Minister said.
“We have attempted to modernise by adding technology, such as a tractor service for ploughing. We spent J$50 million between last year and this year to purchase some 14 tractors, which are now deployed to every parish to help farmers in their ploughing exercise,” he added.
Dr. Tufton informed that this service could be accessed through the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) office in each parish, and urged the farmers to avail themselves of the various services which are also now available, including marketing, livestock and animal health technology support, which have been added to RADA’s core functions.
“I would like to see us, as farmers, view ourselves as an important part of a chain of events. So, we focus on trying to do things the right way in order to get the desired levels of efficiency, in order to tap into value-added and other products, and to make agriculture work. I think farmers will have to take a totally different look at the agricultural sector, and we ourselves need to approach agriculture a whole lot differently. All of us have a critical role to play,” he implored.

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