KINGSTON — First Vice President of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) and Chairman of the Denbigh Planning Committee, Senator Norman Grant, says the Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show is one of the largest exhibition of its kind in the Western Hemisphere.
"When you critically analyze the extent to which it has built up over the last nine years, it represents the largest show of its kind in the Caribbean and, possibly, in the Western Hemisphere," Senator Grant said.
He noted that since its 50th anniversary in 2002, the show's budget has moved from $6 million to $50 million. The audience target this year is 80,000-90,000 compared with last year's 65,000 patrons.
"We are now attracting a number of overseas patrons, including delegates from other Caribbean islands such as the Bahamas, members of the Caribbean Farmers Network (CaFAN) and visitors from the United Kingdom and Canada," he stated.
He said there would be over 250 exhibitors, and it is projected that some $500 million will change hands over the three days.
The 59th staging of Jamaica's premier annual agriculture show will be held from Saturday, July 30, to Monday, August 1, at Denbigh Showground, May Pen, Clarendon.
"This year we are consistent in promoting the theme 'Grow What We Eat, Eat What We Grow,' but there will be a special focus on technology," Senator Grant told a JIS Think Tank session on Tuesday (July 26), at the Jamaica Information Service's head office, Half Way Tree Road, Kingston.
He pointed out that the objective of Denbigh is to bring into sharp focus the need for developing countries, like Jamaica, to invest more in agriculture, as a part of the strategy to repositioning its economy.
He said the issues of food security and food sovereignty were so fundamental that, at Denbigh 2011, there will be a grand farmers market from day one, allowing patrons to purchase fresh produce at reasonable prices, in support of the "Eat Jamaican" theme.
"The Denbigh Farmers Market this year is going to signal the beginning of a consistent strategy by the JAS, to make the Denbigh Agricultural Showground a critical all-island distribution centre for agriculture produce," he said.
All 14 parishes will be showcasing their best yams, pumpkins, vegetables and other crops in parish pavilions. Patrons will be able to purchase produce at these pavilions and the pavilions will compete for prizes.
Patrons attending Denbigh 2011 will be treated to traditional activities, as well as new features such as an enhanced Educational Village, Youth in Agriculture Village, Food Village, Car Show and the re-introduction of the Livestock Auction.
Newly appointed Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Robert Montague, is scheduled to declare the show open on Saturday. Gates will open at 8:00 a.m. daily. The admission is $600 for adults and $300 for children.
By Judith Hunter, JIS PRO