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Story Highlights

  • State Minister Crawford says that farmers should look to diversify production in order to satisfy various markets.
  • He pointed out, for example, that strawberry and mint are in high demand in the tourism industry.
  • Mr. Crawford urged the farmers to work in groups, and identify what is best to produce at a particular period.

State Minister in the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Damion Crawford, says that farmers should look to diversify production in order to satisfy various markets.

He said that farmers need not concentrate solely on traditional crops, while the tourism sector has to be importing items that can be produced locally. He pointed out, for example, that strawberry and mint are in high demand in the tourism industry.

“(We) import strawberry because we don’t have enough. That sounds to me like a lucrative market,” Mr. Crawford said. He informed that mint is also being imported as a key ingredient in liquor production. “We can’t get enough of that mint for the hotels,” he stated.

The State Minister, who was delivering the main address at the St. Andrew Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) Open Day held on Friday, December 6, at the organization’s complex on Old Hope Road, further suggested that farmers could look to producing animal feed.

“Farming is not only now for human beings, because I see where cassava makes good animal feed; corn and soy make good chicken feed. So you can also farm for some other purpose than human direct consumption. It is important that we look at these things, because farmers more and more have to start looking at where the opportunities are,” he stated.

While announcing that he has made $500,000 available for small farmers involved in coffee production in his East Rural St. Andrew constituency, Mr. Crawford urged the farmers to work in groups, and identify what is best to produce at a particular period. “Collaborate and cooperate; come together and look at what is necessary, what is in demand, and what is needed,” he urged.

In his remarks, Member of Parliament for Eastern St. Andrew, Andre Hylton, endorsed Mr. Crawford call for farmers to work in groups, noting that this is crucial in enabling them to market their produce.

He informed that in the coming years, he will be working closely with RADA, to embark on an urban agricultural project.

“All of us must do what we can do to feed ourselves. Start where you are in your yard, and then we do it in an organised way where we can make money from it,” he said.

The Open Day was held to showcase the work of many farm groups and individual farmers in the parish, as well as the products of supporting sponsors.

Several farmers and farm groups received awards from RADA for their performance during the year.