JIS News

Farmers in St. Elizabeth, who are members of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), have called on the organisation to provide them with greater assistance in accessing loans and acquiring large machinery such as tractors, as part of the process to increase agricultural production.
At a meeting of the St. Elizabeth JAS held recently at the Rural Agricultural Development Authority’s (RADA) office in Santa Cruz, the farmers also pointed to the need for more cold storage facilities to prevent spoilage; better coordination in the marketing of produce; and the purchasing of fertiliser in bulk to reduce the cost to individual farmers.
They also want an increase in the number of field officers to provide technical advice; and for the establishment of a pool of farmers that use best practices on their farms, so that others can utilize similar strategies to obtain good results.
JAS Representative, Leroy Cooke, in addressing the meeting, which was designed to discuss the way forward for the organisation, said that with the new thrust of the agricultural sector and the heightened focus on food security, farmers need to become unified in order to strengthen the sector and become more efficient.
“The JAS wants to be revitalised in order to serve you better so I need for you to tell me what is it that you want to see us doing for you, the members,” he stated.
President of the St. Elizabeth JAS, Roy Morrison, told the group that it is very important for farmers to unite so that they can have a greater say in the “running of the affairs of the organization”.
“We, as farmers, need to have a say in how the structure and legal framework of the JAS is put in place and that can only happen if we become active members and play a role in whatever plans that are to be put in place,” he said.
St. Elizabeth, which is described as the ‘bread basket’ of Jamaica, has more than 10,000 registered farmers.
Founded in 1895 by then Governor of Jamaica, Sir Henry Blake, the JAS provides a forum through which all categories of farmers in the island can meet to discuss issues affecting them, initiate plans, elect officers and highlight any other matter pertaining to the welfare of the farming community.

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