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  • Agriculture, Labour and Social Security Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier, has lauded the contribution of Jamaica’s over 220,000 farmers to significantly reducing the country’s food import bill by approximately $5 billion (US$43.6 million) in 2014.
  • This figure, he said, represents a 4.5 per cent decline over 2013, and is the largest recorded since 2009.
  • The Minister was delivering the keynote address at the Jamaica Agricultural Society’s (JAS) 120th Annual General Meeting (AGM), held recently at the Denbigh showground in May Pen, Clarendon.

Agriculture, Labour and Social Security Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier, has lauded the contribution of Jamaica’s over 220,000 farmers to significantly reducing the country’s food import bill by approximately $5 billion (US$43.6 million) in 2014.

This figure, he said, represents a 4.5 per cent decline over 2013, and is the largest recorded since 2009.

He noted that despite the challenge of drought the farmers continue to show resilience, with a 3.4 per cent increase in domestic food production during the first quarter of 2015.

The Minister was delivering the keynote address at the Jamaica Agricultural Society’s (JAS) 120th Annual General Meeting (AGM), held recently at the Denbigh showground in May Pen, Clarendon.

He commended the JAS on 120 years of service to agriculture in Jamaica. “I believe that the success of the agricultural sector is due, also, to the exemplary leadership of the Jamaica Agricultural Society. As one of the oldest institutions in Jamaica, the JAS is an important and powerful organisation,” he stated.

He also applauded  the farmers who attended the AGM and made their contributions, “so that they could get information to take back to their branches,” noting that “this kind of interaction is very important .”

Senator Norman Grant was elected to serve another three-year term as JAS President, with Donald Berry and Royston Johnson also returned as First and Second Vice Presidents, respectively.

Senator Grant said he is “honoured” to, once again, be selected to lead “the greatest farmers’ organisation in the Caribbean (and) western hemisphere, and one of the finest in the world”.

 

In thanking the executive, the management, and staff for their ongoing support,  Senator Grant assured the farmers  that “we are committed to transforming and repositioning the JAS as a viable farmers’ organisation, serving its membership.”

He also expressed the JAS’ gratitude for the continued support  of  the Ministry of Agriculture and commodity associations, all of which, he said are “paramount to the organisation’s existence.”

“We strive to leave an indelible mark in the lives of our farming communities and ensure that there is growth of the rural economy and a better standard of living for the rural population and the nation’s farmers,” Senator Grant added.