Sat | Jan 23, 2021

Get creative with farming

Published:Wednesday | December 2, 2020 | 12:15 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

Farming today requires us to be critically versed in technology; as such, the drive to entice young people to be optimally engaged in these activities will subsequently bear fruit.

Agriculture was my first love as a career when Michael Norman Manley was pushing it in the 1970s. Currently, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Floyd Green is making much inroads which can only benefit the industry. With the sinking of the sugar cane industry into an abysmal position, we have no alternative than to move on. This is where the critical mix of import substitution becomes relevant.

DIVERSIFY OFFERINGS

We will have to diversify our offerings for us to have any form of impact on the wider world of extensive farming, if we are to compete successfully. We have to uniquely diversify our offerings with the application of intensive agriculture.

We can make the farming of non-traditional crops count on our turfs as an embodiment of perfection. With these initiatives fully functional, we could harness the talents of people from STEM schools like Knockalva Polytechnic College and Sydney Pagon School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

This could help to spread the good news with the intervention of the solid effects of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority to influence young people to buy into the philosophy. We could use sea island cotton and other crops like strawberry, peach, pear, plum and other exotic temperate crops that are appealing in the developed world and our tourist trade. These temperate crops could be grown on our cool mountain slopes. We could plant a variety of conventional tropical and subtropical crops to enhance the diversity of the crop deemed exotic as well, like avocados, mangoes, etc.

FOOD SECURITY

The use of hydroponics, aquaculture, floriculture and ornamental crops to bring out the best in our farmers is crucial for the diversifying of our various crop development. Other technology we could embrace is engaging in pomology and olericulture, by strategically building processing, canning and packaging factories.

This would make food security a critical step towards Vision 2030 and our total advancement. We could have renewed initiation of places like Bodles Experimental Station in St Catherine, known for the breeding of quality cattle livestock. This could be rejuvenated into its former glory of an animal husbandry industry, with the rearing of the Jamaica Hope, Jamaica Red and the Jamaica Black.

PARIS TAYLOR