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Fulton vows to restore JAS core values

Published:Monday | August 13, 2018 | 12:00 AMChristopher Serju/ Gleaner Writer

Lenworth Fulton, president-elect of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), has promised to restructure the national umbrella farmers' organisation in order to achieve its original objective of being a driving force for economic growth and development.

Fulton, who, along with first Vice-president Denton Alvaranga and second Vice-president Owen Dobson, will take charge of the JAS in September, promised proper management of all assets and activities, built on transparency, accountability, integrity and inclusiveness.

This, he told the recent Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show at the agency's showground in May Pen, Clarendon, would begin with a comprehensive marketing plan for the 52-acre property, which is grossly underused.

"No real effort has been made to partner with the private sector to build out the various structures on the premises into all-year-round business operations," the agriculturalist lamented, a situation he promised to correct. This, however, will require a major transformational undertaking, Fulton admitted.

"There is a need for infrastructural support, improved agricultural structures, financial support and the education of farmers on a range of social and economic issues to include market standards, health requirements, packaging and labelling requirements," said the incoming JAS president.

"A proper management system is needed for all JAS shows islandwide to ensure that there is transparency and accountability and that the standard is lifted to reflect a 21st-century standard," he added.

Fulton also vowed to restore the JAS to the powerhouse advocacy group that once championed social and other key issues for small farmers, especially.

"We must continue to pay maximum attention to all our small farmers and vendors who, through thick and thin, stock our parochial markets with fresh produce on a weekly basis. They must be protected in the transitional period," he vowed.

Technological applications and climate-change resilience adaptation and mitigation strategies will also top the agenda for the new JAS executive.