Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Hon J.C. Hutchinson, has challenged the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) to utilize its properties as grading and marketing outlets for farm products.
Mr. Hutchinson said that the move would supplement attempts by his Ministry to assist farmers with the marketing of their produce, through the placing of marketing officers in each parish.
“The JAS has a lot of assets lying around, the JAS has a lot of buildings that are not being used, we (Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries) are prepared to work with them, we want to say to them, we want you to put up a grading and marketing section, in all these areas that you have a building going and it is not being used,” he stated.
He recommended that the JAS put a structure in place that grades and markets agricultural products to wholesalers, while also looking into selling ‘C’ grade farm products to agro-processors.
He was addressing the opening ceremony of the 26th Montpelier Agricultural and Industrial Show, in St. James on Monday (April 5).
Minister of State for Agriculture and Fisheries, the Hon J C Hutchinson (centre), and Opposition Spokesman on Agriculture, Roger Clarke (left), being instructed by St. James 4-H Parish Coordinator, Fiona Banton (right) on bottled products while touring the grounds at the Montpelier Agricultural and Industrial Show, St. James on Monday (April 5).
According to Mr. Hutchinson, the value added section of the agricultural sector is very vibrant at this time. He also appealed to entrepreneurs to join with the JAS and establish processing plants, to make use of crops that would normally be left in the fields.
“We are prepared to work with others who want to come onboard to make sure that this is something that is a reality, that no matter what the farmer produces, he must find a market for it”, he stated.
He said that the Ministry is working assiduously to help farmers with the marketing of their crops, with attention now being placed on the value added areas. He emphasized that agriculture is the backbone of every developed country, adding that for Jamaica to move forward, it must have agriculture as its base.