JIS News

Opposition Spokesperson on Agriculture, Roger Clarke, has recommended that the Government accelerate its land reform and divestment programme to stimulate agricultural production.
Mr. Clarke also urged the Government to identify parcels of land it owns in each parish, and distribute them, by way of reversible lease, to small farmers.
“Any farmer occupying Government lands and not producing, give it to another farmer who wants to produce,” Mr. Clarke proposed, during his contribution to the 2009/10 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives today (April 29).
Mr. Clarke proposed a renewed emphasis on small ruminants, like sheep and goat production.
“We have the markets and we must produce to satisfy these markets,” he said.
In addition, the Opposition Spokesperson urged the Government to continue its thrust in apiculture.
In terms of agro-processing, Mr. Clarke said that there are no shortages of agro-processing facilities, however, the problem has always been in providing enough raw materials on a consistent basis.
“Agro-processors have to secure raw material at competitive prices, because they have to compete in the international market. Therefore, all the skills available must be brought to bear to produce raw material, competitively,” Mr. Clarke said.
He suggested that the Government target niche markets and ensure that they maintain them.
Mr. Clarke said that the citrus industry has been undergoing tremendous challenges.
“The irony is that this year’s crop has been a bumper crop, but farmers have been having difficulty marketing their produce,” he said.
He also urged the Government to move hastily to rescue the sector.

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