JIS News

Minister of Agriculture and Lands, Roger Clarke, has called on sugar farmers to fight for the survival of the industry, which he claimed, faces more challenges than all other sectors under his portfolio.
He was speaking at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Ministry and the All Island Jamaica Cane Farmers Association (AIJCFA) recently at his offices in Kingston, which will provide for greater collaboration between the entities, so as to strengthen the sector.
According to Minister Clarke, providing financial support alone to the farmers is not enough and it is important to work with the AIJCFA “to completely revamp and reposition it to rise to the challenges of our new reality, in order to secure the future of farmers.”
He noted that the Ministry will be conducting a study to critically look at the AIJCFA, with a view to making the necessary changes to enable the unit to function as a more effective farmer organization.
In his remarks, President of the AIJCFA, Allan Rickards, said that being involved in the MOU signaled to farmers that by asking them to examine their own efficiency “we are prepared at the organization to do the same thing for ourselves and as such, we are leading from the front.”
In the meantime, Minister Clarke pointed out that the process to privatize the sugar industry is progressing smoothly and bidding has been extended to June 29 to accommodate a surge of new interests in the industry.
“These people are here with a desire to participate in the industry and they have spent their money doing their studies. They have come on board and spent quite a lot of resources in coming to the table,” he pointed out.
He said that the Ministry is determined that “this time, once the industry is privatized, it is for real and that these people are in it for the long haul. People who come in must show that they can deal with the situation and not run back to the government.”

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