Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Floyd Green, is calling on successful farmers to tell others about their achievements in order to make the sector more attractive to young persons who may be interested in farming.
“We should not be afraid to talk about the profits in farming; [that’s] one of the problems we have why young people don’t get into farming. Every story that they hear is a sad story, every story they hear is a story of loss, a story about a lack of market, theft; those are the issues that we speak about at length,” he lamented.
“Nobody knows when products are sold for 300 per cent profit, nobody hears when the exports go out and the dollars come back in, how agriculture has sent children through school student loan-free. We don’t tell those stories, but we are going to have to. We have to make people know that there is money to be made from agriculture,” he said.
The Minister was speaking during the Trelawny stop on the Ministry’s Listening Tour, which was held at the First Assembly of God Church in Falmouth on Saturday (October 24).
He is encouraging the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) to assist farmers to operate in a more businesslike manner, in order to increase earnings from the sector.
“What I need RADA to do is help farmers make better business decisions, and we have to structure the industry around business matrices that we know work… . If people are not making money from farming, then nobody is going to be attracted to it. Farming has to be attractive, farming has to be profitable,” he pointed out.
Meanwhile, he said that the Ministry will be seeking to provide specialised training for farmers while they are in the field.
“We have farmers in the field and they cannot leave to go to the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE) because that is how they make their livelihood. We have to find a way to make specialised training more available on the ground, not just in the schools, and that is one of the things that I am going to look at,” he said.
The Listening Tour gives farmers a platform to discuss their challenges and ideas with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. Stops will be made across all parishes.