Fri | Sep 25, 2020

Custos wants vigilance for agriculture sector

Published:Wednesday | July 15, 2020 | 12:13 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer
Mayor of Montego Bay Councillor Homer Davis (second left), converses with (from left), Glendon Harris, president of the St James Association of Branch Society of the Jamaica Agricultural Society; Custos of St James, Bishop Conrad Pitkin; and Colonel Jaimie
Mayor of Montego Bay Councillor Homer Davis (second left), converses with (from left), Glendon Harris, president of the St James Association of Branch Society of the Jamaica Agricultural Society; Custos of St James, Bishop Conrad Pitkin; and Colonel Jaimie Ogilvie, vice president of Hi-Pro. The occasion was the Hi-Pro donations handover ceremony, which was held at the Montpelier Agricultural Showground in St James on July 10.

Western Bureau:

St James’ Custos Conrad Pitkin says that despite the issues created by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the country should take whatever measures are necessary to ensure that agriculture remains vibrant because the nation cannot afford any stall in production at this time.

“Agriculture is not something we can stall temporarily. No matter what happens to the people of Jamaica, agriculture has to go on,” said Pitkin, while speaking at last Friday’s event where 40 farmers from the St James Association of Branch Societies were presented with Hi-Pro crop kits.

In addition to the crop kits to the farmers, Hi-Pro also handed out 160 bags of feed to its dealers to distribute to their loyal customers, while another 100 bags were donated to the Small Ruminants Association of Jamaica for distribution to small farmers affected by COVID-19.

“As our economy reopens, agriculture needs to revolve around Hi-Pro’s #GrowStrong campaign. We must endeavour to grow the agricultural sector in the country,” stated Pitkin.

In noting that the coronavirus is the worst pandemic to have hit mankind in a century, Pitkin said that after three months, Jamaica is still learning to cope with the crisis, which has caused serious dislocation in various sectors.

Colonel Jaime Ogilvie, vice-president of Hi-Pro, said since the launch of Hi-Pro #Growstrong campaign some four weeks ago, the company has facilitated the distribution of over 300 crop kits and more than 700 bags of Hi-Pro feed to assist farmers affected by the COVID-19.

EXCITED

“We are excited about the #Growstrong initiative. So far, our handovers have taken us to St Catherine, Clarendon, St Ann, Trelawny, and now St James, where we have been able to provide practical assistance to farmers,” said Ogilvie.

He said the crop kits distributed to the needy farmers consist of Hi-Pro-distributed PanDia seeds, such as cabbage, okra, sweet pepper, and watermelon.

He added that the kits are ideal for a quarter-acre plot. The packages included fungicides and herbicides.

“We know these farmers input will make a difference to our community, so we are enthusiastic about the continued roll-out and what the impact will be on Jamaica’s agricultural sector, as the year progresses,” continued Ogilvie, who noted that over the next five months, Hi-Pro is committing to donate over 3,000 bags of feed and more than 900 grow-strong crop kits to farmers across the island.

Glendon Harris, president of the St James Association of Branch Societies, said the farmers appreciate Hi-Pro’s intervention at this critical time and value its partnership.“We will continue to cherish our partnership and we look forward to God’s riches blessing on all of us,” said Harris.

“We are promising that small farmers will do all they can to feed Jamaicans and the other peoples of the world, through exports.”