Shaw wants to expand 'mother farms' initiative
Audley Shaw, the minister of industry, commerce, agriculture and fisheries, is expressing a desire to expand the 'mother farm' concept, which allows for large companies to enter into partnerships with small and medium farmers to provide them with an avenue to sell their crops.
Speaking to journalists during the Jamaica Investment Forum 2018, which concluded at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St James yesterday, Shaw said that this measure would help to avoid a surplus or glut of agricultural produce on the local market.
"We want to spread that mother farm concept across the board, where large companies link up with a range of small and medium farmers and give them guarantees, including the guarantee of a market," said Shaw. "You 'mother' them to have freshly produced things for sale, and you guarantee those markets.
"Large companies like GraceKennedy and the CB group want to provide the mother farms concept," continued Shaw. "Farmers want to grow things, and if they have certainty of how they are going to sell the produce and there are mother farms ready to work with them, that would help."
COMBATING PRAEDIAL LARCENY
The minister further noted that such an arrangement would help to deter praedial larceny as the involvement of more farmers monitoring smaller plots of land would result in better security of their produce.
"This is part of the antidote to praedial larceny as large companies don't want 3,000 acres that they alone are managing anymore since it is harder to avoid praedial larceny in those circumstances," explained Shaw.
"If you have relationships with small and medium farmers who manage 30 acres or 50 acres, they are better able to manage against praedial larceny. That is why we are pushing the concept of the mother farm."
Shaw also announced that he would be reviewing whether the ministry's current policies on praedial larceny are adequate or in need of adjustments.