Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Ian Hayles, is imploring all Jamaicans to support the local agricultural sector by buying and eating Jamaican products.
“I am appealing to all Jamaicans, rich and poor alike show how much you love Jamaica; show us your level of patriotism; show us brand loyalty and buy Jamaican," he urged.
Mr. Hayles made the call on July 25, during his contribution to the 2012/13 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives.
He said that even as the country celebrates its 50th year of Independence, unfortunately there are still some Jamaican business people who feel the best way to grow the agricultural sector is by importing agricultural produce.
Mr. Hayles said it is time that all Jamaicans recognise their civic duty by supporting the local economy. “With each plate of food you eat, start asking yourself the question, am I supporting my local farmer and country?” the State Minister said.
In the meantime, Mr. Hayles said the Ministry will be embarking on a national public awareness programme to showcase farming as a profitable career to attract more young people.
“It must be noted that the deficiencies of the current tertiary offerings and an orientation to career advancement, rather than entrepreneurship, result in a number of graduates that are not being absorbed into the sector,” he said.
He added that the typical profile of the graduate is a high level of theoretical preparation, limited practical experience, lack of access to lands, inability to secure financing, because of a lack of collateral and a large student loan burden.
The State Minister explained that the programme will seek to highlight the abundance of opportunities in the agricultural sector for young exuberant and hardworking Jamaicans.