Several new features for this year’s Denbigh
This year's staging of the Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show, scheduled to run from August 4-6, will include several new features to enhance the spectacle of the event, while promoting the country's agricultural sector.
The event, under the theme: 'Grow What We eat, Eat What We Grow: Agriculture Securing Our Future,' will include a craft village; a back-to-school fair; and the transformation of the President's Pavilion into a "living embodiment" highlighting the country's agricultural history, growth of the sector, and future potential.
An investment in agriculture forum will be staged with support from entities such as the Jamaica Promotions Corporation, the Jamaica Business Development Corporation, the National Export-Import Bank of Jamaica, and the Agro-Investment Corporation Limited.
"It is going to be a tremendous show this year," said president of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) Norman Grant.
"These features are really just to showcase Denbigh as the platform for strategic and economic growth," he noted.
Grant was speaking at the launch of the 66th staging of Denbigh at the Hi-Pro Supercentre in White Marl, St Catherine, on Friday.
Grant said that a scholarship award would be added to the National Farm Queen Competition, and ahead of the show, on July 8, a Denbigh farmers' 5k run would take place at the showground in May Pen, Clarendon, with the proceeds to go towards establishing a disaster relief fund for farmers.
AGRICULTURE IS FUNDAMENTAL TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF JAMAICA
In addition to the new elements, patrons will be able to enjoy the traditional features such as the health and wellness village, horticultural displays, a farmer's market, am organic village, food court, and a youth in agriculture village, to name a few.
Grant, who indicated that this would be his final year as JAS president, emphasised the importance of investing in agriculture, which will contribute to the sustained growth of the Jamaican economy.
"Agriculture, in our view, is fundamental to the development of Jamaica. We see agriculture as the bedrock and pillar on which economic growth will take place," he said.
He noted that the sector accounts for seven per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) and employs thousands of persons.
Grant said that the 'Grow What We Eat, Eat What We Grow' campaign, which has been a part of Denbigh for over 14 years, has been a game changer.
"The campaign has saved the Jamaican economy US$500 million. Prior to the campaign, we were increasing our imports by about US$100 million per annum. Subsequent to the launch, that has been decreased to US$60 million per annum ... we need to salute the work of the over 250,000 farmers and fisherfolk," he said.
President and Chief Executive Officer of the Jamaica Broilers Group Christopher Levy stressed his company's commitment to the annual staging of Denbigh and the development of the agriculture sector.
Jamaica Broilers is one of the largest sponsors of the agricultural and industrial show, which attracts over 80,000 patrons annually.
In 2016, the company signed a memorandum of understanding with the JAS, committing more than $60 million to the event over a three-year period.