State Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Ian Hayles, has suggested that farmers consider diversifying the categories of crops they cultivate, and revising the planting schedules for some, in order to address the problem of glut currently affecting the agricultural sector.
Speaking at the handing over of agricultural tools, supplies and other inputs to several schools in Clarendon, at the Spaldings High School, on April 27, Mr. Hayles noted that the glut, which he described as “serious,” involved Irish potatoes, carrots and cabbage. This, he said, posed challenges for the farmers, and stressed the need for them to be meticulous in their planting schedules.
“When the rainy season comes, everybody plants at the same time. And, when (you) all plant at the same time, the price that you expect to get for your produce at harvest, you cannot get…. and this creates some problems,” he argued.
Noting that “farming has changed,” Mr. Hayles said the sector’s activities entailed more than merely cultivating crops, pointing to the incorporation of standard business practices and procedures, including technology. He said these inputs have been used to great effect by a number of the country’s larger and more established farmers, while urging the smaller stakeholders to do likewise.
“A lot of times, what makes the small farmers fail, is that they do not understand the business side of farming. They need to look at products and where there is a demand for them, and to learn how technology can assist them,” the State Minister said.
Mr. Hayles emphasised that farmers must get acquainted with what is going on in the sector, and to educate themselves, so that they will be able to manage their holdings successfully.
By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter