JAS Must be Restructured – Tufton


Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, has said that the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) must be restructured to enable the organisation to better serve the interests of farmers.
Giving the keynote address at the JAS 115th Annual General Meeting, held at the Denbigh Showground in Clarendon on July14, Dr. Tufton contended that the body “was too heavy at the top and, because of that, resources were not filtered sufficiently to the base of the organisation.”
“The branches should be given a bigger portion of the resources to conduct their work on the ground,” he argued.
Stating that the Ministry would provide consultants to assist with the restructuring, Dr. Tufton said that the process “should not reflect any threat to anybody’s work; it should only be focusing on the core function of the JAS”.
He noted that the JAS is critical to the development of the country’s agricultural sector, and insisted that the organisation must be put in a position to represent the industry more fervently.
As it relates to financial support, Minister Tufton said the JAS “must develop capacity for a more viable commercial infrastructure where it can earn its keep and therefore be independent.”
He said while the Government would continue to give subvention to the JAS, he contended that the more than $300 million that the group has in assets across the country, could be better utilised to strengthen the farming sector. “Commercialisation of some of your assets is important,” the Minister stated.
He further urged the group to “start discussing and partnering with people that can promote viable commercial activity that can serve your constituents and, at the same time, bring in revenue. The JAS is a strong brand, and you can get support.”

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