JAS President Suggests Strengthening of Farmers’ Organisations in Region


Chairman of the Caribbean Farmers Network (CaFAN) and President of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), Senator Norman Grant, has said that if farmers’ organizations in the Caribbean are strengthened, they could play a more critical role in the economic transformation of countries in the region.
“We believe that as a group, as an organization, we have a critical role to play in advancing the whole business of development as it relates to the Caribbean economies. We feel that the strengthening of the institutional framework that drives growth and development, as it relates to farmers organizations, must be the centre piece,” Senator Grant stressed.
He was addressing some 80 delegates from member countries of the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States, at the Agricultural Commodities workshop being held at the Rose Hall Resort and Country Club in Montego Bay from April 1 to April 3.
The Chairman expressed his delight that one of the areas to be addressed during the workshop was “how can we deal with the fragmenting and disorganization of the private sector.”
“We think that the Caribbean Farmers Association provides a perfect vehicle to look towards strengthening that institutional framework that is within the different countries, from Nevis with 50 members, to the Jamaica Agricultural Society with a potential of 200,000 members. We think that given the appropriate mechanism, given the appropriate support in partnership with other stakeholders, we can provide significant value to the process of advancement,” Senator Grant said.
The Chairman said that in the same way that multi-nationals have done extremely well, the farmers could add significant value, not only to their own organization, but also to the economy of their states.
“As we move forward, especially at this time, it is going to be very important that we have a focus on a framework that is driven by the need to create wealth through the advancement of our people, that is going to go towards increasing production and therefore the issue of access to capital, the issue of access to credit and the whole issue as it relates to improving the infrastructure in the rural communities, are going to be of paramount importance,” Senator Grant said.
During the three-day consultation, organizations involved in commodity production, processing, trade and storage, government agencies, financial institutions, research and development organizations, universities and NGOs discussed ways to improve income and livelihood for ACP producers of agricultural commodities, thus reducing income vulnerability and poverty.

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