Growth Forum: Agriculture could save Lucea
At least three major stakeholders in Hanover are urging special effort on the part of the local authorities to position agriculture and small business as platforms to drive growth and development in the town of Lucea and adjoining areas.
"We (stakeholders inside Lucea) might not get a lot out of the development plans because of the aesthetics of the town of Lucea, but agriculture can be the way to go," said the Reverend Glenroy Clarke, pastor of the Lucea United Church and chairman of the Rusea's High School Board. "We might not see the town look like Bogue in Montego Bay, but we can maintain and use agriculture to be the way forward."
"Bamboo is a low-hanging fruit in Hanover. Bamboo just grows wild and there is a market for that," continued Clarke, in listing some of the options that could be pursued. "I hear that the cocoa industry has been divested, so there is hope for Hanover to plant more cocoa and to resurrect that industry."
He added: "Also, Hanover has possibly the largest variety of mangoes. When it is mango season, it is on the road all over the place ... so we can have investments for mango preservatives and so forth."
Nerris Hawthorne, chairperson of the Lucea Development Initiative Committee, was fully supportive of the ideas of pushing agriculture and creating an industry around bamboo as options that could boost the parish's economy.
"We have bamboo in the whole of Hanover, so if there is any industry that is going to start, bamboo must be featured," said Hawthorne. "We have turmeric, ginger, mangoes and cocoa. All those are crops that can be developed into major industries."
NEED TO RESERVEFARMLANDS
"All the farm lands (in Hanover) have to be reserved for agriculture because that is where you can use your agricultural implements. It is not easy to work the farms in the hills. We need to have the lowlands for farming. The Government can make that a law," said Hawthorne.
Kelvin Hall, president of the Hanover Chamber of Commerce, told the forum there was a need to educate farmers in Hanover on the best way to utilise their business potential.
"There are several farmers within our parish, who are exporting, and there are others who have the potential, but they do not know what they have," said Hall. "It comes back down to education. First, passing on the information from generation to generation. So, if I own a farm, who is there to carry on my business? That information should be passed on.
"Record-keeping is important, if you want financing, there must be proper record keeping," continued Hall. "Also, farmers in different areas can probably look at pooling their resources and offering tours as part of their revenue generation."