Sun | Apr 22, 2018

Farm workers’ remittances - enhancing rural folks and communities

Published:Thursday | January 14, 2016 | 12:00 AM


The talk of economic success based on our lack of productivity and export challenges seem to be on most people's discussion agenda, and in these discourses we always give the impression that no other successes exist, albeit that there are many and that they continue to add value to our economy.

Jamaica's participation in the Foreign Agricultural Resource Management Services pro-grammes in both Canada and the United States of America, aka "farm work" is one such success that we have discounted, because we may not be fully aware of its importance to rural communities and the economic value to our country.

Recently, I noted in release from the Ministry of Labour spreading the word of the Agricultural Seasonal Workers Programme or 'farm work' programme being responsible for $1.7 billion in remittances in 2015. I was even more motivated to learn that this was a 20 per cent increase, according to the report, and so I made sure my working colleagues of an urban upbringing knew how much we the rural folks are and have contributed to the economy seeing through this programme which has been around for some five decades.

A lot of Jamaicans, including my father and his late father lined up (literally) in the hope of benefiting from this job programme and in our case, both were thankfully successful and today I am a professional as a result of the benefits they derived.

What would I and my many friends from the rural parts of our economy have done without this programme?

On behalf of all Jamaicans who have benefited from these programmes, I would like to recognise our government for seeing to its continuation and more importantly, we would like to thank our mothers for the emotional sacrifices they make annually when their men folks are away on "Farm Work" for a prolonged period.

Jerome Hanson