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The 2009 Montpelier Agricultural and Industrial Show, staged annually at the Montpelier showground, in St. James, is scheduled for Easter Monday (April 13).
The show, staged annually by the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS)/ St James Association of Branch Societies, will be held under the theme “Agriculture to the world.”
Speaking at the launch at the St. James RADA office, President of the St. James Association of Branch Societies of the JAS, Glendon Harris, explained that over $800,000 is being spent to stage the show. He boasted that the show promises to be the best of its kind put on anywhere in the western hemisphere.
“This is the opportunity the hard working farmers, and other stakeholders in the agricultural sector, have to showcase what they have been doing throughout the year. Self sufficiency is indeed the vision within the society, thus the theme: Agriculture to the world,” he stated.
He said that the show serves to ensure survival, amidst the current challenges Jamaica now faces as a nation.
“Booth holders will showcase the unique and creative manner in which agricultural products and value added items can be packaged and showcased for local and international markets, with a focus on improving the health and wellness of the society,” he stated.
He said that with the planning and organisation for this year’s show, it promises to be an “ideal family fun day”.
President of the JAS, Senator Norman Grant, said that, as a result of the financial global meltdown being experienced in Jamaica, the country needed a sector which can “win the gold medal.”
“And I commit today that, that sector is agriculture,” Senator Grant stated.
He made a plea for Government to resist any temptation to reduce the Ministry of Agriculture’s budget in 2009/2010, despite the economic challenges.
“I know that the Prime Minister, and the Government, are having a challenging time to come up with the budget at this time. But, I make a special call on behalf of the over 200,000 farmers in Jamaica that, as he ponders areas to cut, I submit that the area of agriculture cannot be cut,” Senator Grant said.
“It is this area that is Jamaica’s brightest prospect for sustained development and survival of this tidal wave that is sweeping across, not only our nation, but the world,” he stated.
He also called for additional duties to be placed on all imported agricultural produce that can be grown in Jamaica, with a view to encouraging Jamaicans to grow what they eat and eat more of what they grow.

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