THE EDITOR, Sir:
I have a small hand-cranked corn mill. I also have a small area around my house where I grow nearly all the vegetables I need and give some away.
Most people reading this know what I am going to say next, but sadly, the leaders past and present of our agriculture ministry will not have a clue. I use my corn mill to grind the corn that I grow to any grade I require. I have not bought cornmeal in years, and the seed-eating birds in my garden, especially the ground dove and pea dove, have never had it so good!
At this time, there is much talk about tax on animal feed and who will end up with that bill - as if we didn't know!
I am no farmer, but I have done enough experiment in my own practical way to come to the conclusion that we in Jamaica could grow all the corn we need. Corn will grow anywhere you see lush grass growing; and does not need tons of water, heaps of fertiliser (I never use it), insecticides or continual weeding, as it grows much faster than the weeds that strangle other plants.
Corn also produces a crop, no matter the season it is sown, and is ready to reap dry, in four months. It can also be stored for years if treated against weevil.
We are never going to have the massive acreage as seen in the United States, but if we arrange local buying stations to take the few pounds here or five tons there, then collectively we can produce the amount we need and more. Planning is the word here!
Compare that to the greenhouses I see being paraded on Jamaican television to grow soft fruit and short-life vegetables with the inevitable photo opportunity for our agriculture minister.