More Women Interested in Farming

Photo: JIS Photographer Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson. (FILE)

Story Highlights

  • Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J. C. Hutchinson, says there are growing signs that more women are now gravitating towards farming.
  • “While the general belief has always been that farming is a man’s game, I am happy that our female farmers have started to debunk that myth and are showing that they are just as capable of doing a good job as their male counterparts,” the Minister said.
  • Liz Levy, a Scotch bonnet farmer, said her only regret is that it took her so long to get into farming. “There are a lot of opportunities and I am doing everything to capitalise on them,” she noted.

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J. C. Hutchinson, says there are growing signs that more women are now gravitating towards farming.

The Minister, who was speaking at the Hinds Town/Orange Park Farmers Group Meeting in Hinds Town, St. Ann, on February 8, said this is good news that can only further boost the sector.

“While the general belief has always been that farming is a man’s game, I am happy that our female farmers have started to debunk that myth and are showing that they are just as capable of doing a good job as their male counterparts,” the Minister said.

Mr. Hutchinson said now is as good a time as any for persons to get into agriculture, pointing to the numerous opportunities that will be available through the linkage with the booming tourism sector.

“The large number of hotel rooms that are coming on stream will mean that our farmers can have a ready market at their disposal and they can work with their Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) representative to explore marketing opportunities.”

Liz Levy, a Scotch bonnet farmer, said her only regret is that it took her so long to get into farming. “There are a lot of opportunities and I am doing everything to capitalise on them,” she noted.

Ms. Levy said she is now convinced that farming is her chosen calling, adding that she has a ready market in the Walkerswood factory in Colgate, St. Ann, and is looking to expand.
Sadie Dyer, another female farmer, said while she has had her fair of challenges in her one year as a farmer, she sees where she can make a good living.

“Even during my downtime, I have never contemplated giving up. My thing is that adversity is normal and when it comes, we just have to know how to deal with it. I am planting bananas and plantains and I am doing it on a large scale,” she said.

For her part, Ann Innis said the days of female farmers being stigmatised have long gone, noting that farming is now big business. “I am one of the rare ones who is making the transition from tourism into farming,” she pointed out.

“I see it as a business with a lot of opportunities. I can also tell you that a lot more women are ready to make the leap into agriculture, but they need the help to get started,” she said.

The Minister urged the farmers to arrange themselves in groups so they can lease lands and get access to bank loans.

“Get yourselves organised and the Ministry will do whatever it can to get you the lease on the lands. Also, the banks are a little reluctant to lend money to individual farmers, but are more receptive when you go as a group,” he said.

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