Managing Director of the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), Mrs. Scarlette Gillings, has lauded the contribution of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) to the development and growth of the agricultural sector.
In a speech prepared for the 101st Annual General Meeting of the Portland Association of Branch Societies and the Eleventh Portland Farmers Agricultural Exposition, and delivered by JSIF’s agricultural specialist, Mr. Vincent Thompson, Mrs. Gillings said the success achieved by the JAS, in spearheading agricultural production in the country, has made it the premier farmers’ organisation for over a century.
Held under the theme, “Production and Productivity”, the function brought together a number of farmers representing various JAS branches in the parish, and featured display booths showcasing the goods and services provided by several government and non-government organisations.
Among the organisations participating in the event were the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), the Forestry Department, the Bank of Nova Scotia, the Jamaica National Building Society, the Portland Parish Development Committee and the Social Development Commission.
One of the booths showcasing value added products at the Annual General Meeting and Farmers Exposition of the Portland Association of branch societies at the Jamaica Agricultural Society’s compound in Port Antonio on Wednesday (April 21).
Mrs. Gillings said that the theme was quite timely, as concerns regarding food security and the best ways to stimulate rural development have created a re-energized thrust in agriculture.
Noting that the function was not only a celebration of the history of the JAS as an organisation, but also the contribution that its members have made to the development and growth of the farming sector, the JSIF Managing Director said groups such as the Portland Association of Branch Societies are vitally important if improved production and increased productivity are to be achieved.
She said that JSIF recognised the critically important role being played by the agricultural sector in social and economic advancement, and that it was against that background that JSIF recently launched the Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI) Project, geared to funding projects in agriculture and tourism.
She said that although Jamaican Agriculture is confronted with challenges, the sector continues to grow and has the potential for even greater growth, at a time when Jamaica and the rest of the world are experiencing economic recession.
She asserted that the agricultural sector had the potential to enable Jamaica to attain self sufficiency in food production and reduce the import bill, especially as it relates to agro processed foods.