JIS News

The Senate on Friday (October 3), closed the debate on a Motion moved by Government Senator and President of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), Norman Grant, calling on Jamaicans to support local farmers.At the end of the deliberations, members on both sides of the Upper House gave full support to the Motion.
In closing the debate, Senator Grant said that the JAS would be pursuing a campaign to encourage more production and for Jamaicans to buy local produce. “This promotion of our local industries will lead to the creation of a market for our local produce. For example, the JAS is implementing a central marketing company, which will be going out there to assist farmers to plant particular crops where there is a demand,” he said.
Senator Grant pointed out that this was a calculated approach to get “our people to go back to the land to produce on a large scale, and if we can produce on a large scale and increase our productivity, the unit cost would fall and we would be in a better position to compete with the imported produce”.
In his contribution to the debate, Government Senator, Keste Miller, said the Motion was very timely. “One of the important things about the Resolution is that it speaks to food security and it is very important for a nation to be able to feed itself,” he said.
Senator Miller also pointed out that the fishing industry was of great importance to the agricultural sector, and that more attention should be paid to this industry. “The development of the beaches and inlets from which our fishermen operate islandwide is necessary. Attention needs to be placed on the infrastructure of these beaches,” he said.
Opposition Senator, Anthony Johnson, supported the call by Senator Miller for improvement to be made to the facilities used by fishermen across the island. “The main beaches .they don’t have facilities for the fishermen and it is something that has been mentioned time and time again and nothing has been done. We should not in the year 2003 be prepared to see our fishermen and fisherwomen living under those conditions. I would hope that this is taken into account when one is looking at the overall agricultural sector,” he said.
Senator Johnson also pointed out that a scientific approach to production should be taken in the agricultural sector.
“We are not practising scientific agriculture. The point is, you cannot keep on planting on the same piece of land over and over again,” he said.
Senator Johnson said there was scientific evidence that farmers have not been taking proper care of the soil and this has contributed to the reduction in production of some crops, such as banana and sugar. “Our farms need a proper scientific analysis and assessment,” he said.

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