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Minister of Agriculture, Roger Clarke has described this year’s Denbigh Agricultural and Industrial Show as “the best I have witnessed”, in terms of the layout of the grounds, the presentation of the pavilions and the quality of the produce displayed.
The Minister was delivering the main address at the opening of the show in May Pen, Clarendon, yesterday (July 30). It will end on August 1.
Mr. Clarke said although farmers have faced significant challenges over the past months – a long drought and two hurricanes – they have maintained and showed their resilience as the “backbone of the Jamaican economy”, as seen in the large turnout at the show, as well as the quality of the exhibits that were on display.
While encouraging the farmers to continue their quest in developing the sector, he urged them to be conscious of how they go about producing, as this was critical for the further development of the industry. He said that farmers should produce as the markets demanded, by investing their time and resources in those areas, which would yield high rewards. He stressed that farmers should not just limit production for local consumption, but should capitalize on opportunities provided in regional niche markets.
“We have [to capitalize] on those export opportunities for root crops.We’re not producing enough yams right now, the ethnic markets are not being satisfied, but every now and again we hear about a glut with tomatoes. What we want to do is produce for the markets that we have. the markets are out there and what we must do is get out there and meet market demands,” he added.
President of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), Senator Norman Grant, also endorsed the Minister’s view of the show, while bringing greetings at the opening ceremony.
“This is the best first day, in all its 53 years, that Denbigh has ever experienced, as it relates to the presentation of the exhibits, and the time frame within which the pavilions were set up, compared to previous years,” Senator Grant said.
This, he said, was due to the measures that the JAS had put in place, in order to improve the quality of the show.
Also taking part in the ceremony were Minister of the nvironment for Bermuda, Neletha Butterfield; Dr. Hector Barreyro, Representative for the Inter-American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture (IICA), and Member of Parliament, Delroy Chuck , who represented Leader of the Opposition, Bruce Golding.
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