Grow so that We Eat (not eat what we grow)
Land reform is a pre-requisite to development, so I expect the agricultural presentation to be strong on land reform.
The rate at which farmers on marginal lands receive their titles must be accelerated. It gives them collateral to move to the next phase and motivation to their offspring to stay and try a thing.
The economies of scale were thrown aside in the political haste to commandeer viable estates and to farm out small portions in return for political patronage.
The cost has been a fall in productivity and the migration of the population to other vocations as the small offerings could not sustain them.
So the commandeering of prime lands to create agricultural parks is less of an original move and more of a reversion to the agricultural stations and estate mode, that formed a critical mass that could sustain the administrators, the agronomists, horticulturalists, livestock and soil specialists to make them viable.
Whereas under this renewed dispensation land can be leased it must never again be fragmented.
Agriculture needs to become market driven.
The development of the Tilapia fish farming, it being a warm water fish, could successfully target temperate countries where it would be considered exotic. The flavouring of our meats and vegetables with our rendition of 'Jamaican Jerk' could target the Diaspora and their friends, inclusive of visitors who have fond memories of our hospitality. The production of chips, flour and breakfast cereals from our root crops and other starches could earn far greater returns than that from the original banana boats.
- Dr Keith Amiel is manager, corporate affairs, Caribbean Broilers Group.