Prime Minister Bruce Golding has warned that no International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreement, World Bank or Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) arrangement, can solve the long-term problems facing Jamaica.
Mr. Golding said that while the country may need an IMF agreement to assist it through this immediate economic storm, it will not solve the problems of Jamaica because the problems are rooted in the fact that we import too much and we are not producing enough for ourselves.
“Whether the problem is unemployment, or crime, driven by a lack of opportunity, or it is bad roads because we are not deriving enough revenue to fix the roads as fast as we want..it comes down to one equation, we need to produce more, to depend on foreign producers less, and that is the way in which we are going to build the economy, create jobs and prosperity for Jamaica’.
Addressing the launch of the Production and Marketing Organisation (PMO) conference yesterday at the Trelawny Multi-purpose stadium, Mr. Golding told thousands of farmers from all across Jamaica that he had met earlier with members of the social partnership group to discuss the possibility that Jamaica may have to seek assistance from the IMF. He said the group will be meeting again and that Minister of Finance Audley Shaw would be going to Washington and the IMF would also be coming to Jamaica for further discussions. But he emphasized that “We are not going to go back into any IMF agreement unless we are satisfied that that agreement is good for Jamaica and that it has the provisions in it to help Jamaica forward, not to help Jamaica into reverse gear. We are not into that’. Mr. Golding said that while he was not in a position to speak to the details of the discussions arising from yesterday morning’s meeting, and the direction that would be taken, he said an appropriate announcement would be made in Parliament as soon as the negotiations are completed.
Prime Minister Golding tours one of the many booths on display at yesterday’s launch of the Production and Marketing Organisation conference at the Trelawny Multi-purpose stadium. Through the PMOs, the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) will be able to provide its services to the farmers, working with local community based groups. The PMO conference will become an annual event because as Agriculture Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton noted; agriculture requires a common vision, where farmers are informed and know what the market requires and the best practices in producing in an efficient way to meet those market demands.
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Dr Christopher Tufton explained the need for the PMO conference. He said there are over 200,000 farmers across the island and when he took over the Ministry, the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) was given the mandate to establish PMO’s across Jamaica as it is easier to be working with groups, than individual farmers. Over the past 18-months, RADA working with the Ministry has established 826 PMO’s with almost 30,000 farmers as members. He said that through the PMO’s it has become a lot easier to service the farmers, working with the local community based groups.
Dr Tufton said the PMO conference will become an annual event because agriculture requires a common vision, where farmers are informed and know what the market requires and the best practices in producing in an efficient way to meet those market demands. He said the Ministry’s objective will be achieved through a RADA that is efficient in providing technical advice and a farmers group that understands what is needed based on information from RADA and other areas of the Ministry.
Minister Tufton said that if it wasn’t for agriculture, Jamaica would be in a perilous state today. He said that if we as a country can improve the lot of the farmers there is no doubt we would be improving the lot of the Jamaican people and would enhance economic prosperity across the length and breadth of the country.