Wed | Aug 16, 2017

Rethink swipe of farmland for housing

Published:Wednesday | February 1, 2017 | 2:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Data derived from the National Agricultural Census indicate an alarming rate of reallocation of arable farmland.

Farmland availability forms the very fulcrum on which food security, domestic and export production, youth employment, and critical agricultural research are hinged.

While one cannot gainsay the increasing need for more urban and rural housing solutions, it cannot be at the expense of the demand for the most primary need of humanity: food.

The compelling need to prioritise food production patently supersedes most other considerations and certainly defies any logic that would currently see some 9.7 hectares of potential farmland being taken up in road, infrastructure development, and housing yearly.

I call on our urban and rural planners, in conjunction with those charged with the revision of our building code, to implement minimum mandatory standards for more condominium and multiple-floor dwellings and commercial buildings so as to free up more lands for the realisation of the grand home and backyard gardening concept launched years ago.

I think that the technocrats within the agriculture ministry should rethink the national policy on land divestment and management.

DERRICK SIMON

derrickdsimon@yahoo.com

Kingston 8