Farmers want focus on environment
Farmers in St Mary believe that if the new Government is concerned about developing Jamaica, climate change and greater protection of the environment are two issues that must be addressed immediately.
Fidel Wright, an agronomist from Woodside who processes products such as kola nuts, chaney root, cinnamon, pumpkin seeds and bird peppers, believes that with sufficient sponsorship from the Ministry of Agriculture, Jamaican farmers could guarantee that the sector remains productive for years to come.
He told The Gleaner: "I think a greater focus on agriculture, particularly the small farmers, would help Jamaica tremendously because they receive very little money and don't really get any support.
"I really think the Government should invest more in small farmers because we take care of the environment, which is so important. And we need to start investing in the youths because they are the ones starting bushfires and things like that.
"If you educate them about their environment, you will see them start taking better care of it, and that's why it's important to start with the youths."
Islington-based bee farmer Donald Dunkley believes a programme dedicated to replanting the many acres of plants and trees lost to urbanisation in recent decades would benefit Jamaica in the long term, and help reduce the impact of climate change.
"Forestation is one way the Government can help farmers indirectly, by trying to replenish our forests because we are losing them and that affects production directly. But to be honest, any assistance they offer would be greatly appreciated."