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The importance of agriculture to the future of the country cannot be underestimated and the late Ivan Tomlinson was one of the stalwarts who played an important role in keeping agriculture viable in Jamaica when the importation of food items posed a threat to the local industry.
One of his more significant contributions was through the Jamaica Agricultural Society when in the 1970s he helped to form the North Clarendon Processing Company that not only generated employment by the processing of fruits and vegetables, but was owned by small farmers and other agriculturalists.
Mr. Tomlinson also served for many years as an agricultural extension trainer with the Extra Mural Department of the University of the West Indies.
He was one of the persons who modernized the rules for the annual Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) Farmer of the Year competition to include record-keeping, performance, efficiency and innovation.
Mr. Tomlinson never lost his zeal for the success of agriculture and when he was in his 80s served as President of the JAS for five years.
The Jamaican farmer is the backbone of our economy and I pay tribute to a man who spent nearly half a century making a sterling contribution to the sector. To his family and friends, I ask that in their grief they take comfort from the fact that his was a job well done.

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