Steve Lyston, Contributor
THE HEALING of the nation's economy is in the ground. (Revelation 22; Ezekiel 42) Farming is the lifeblood of a nation. Much of man's sustenance comes from the ground. Oxygen, food, fruit water, oil, natural gas, wood, dye, paper, coal - are some of the things generated by or from the earth. Everything needed to sustain man can be found in the ground.
In Genesis 26, when the nation was experiencing ongoing famine and economic problems, God instructed Isaac not to go the path of the Philistines but, instead, till the land and sow, as an alternative. The Philistines today would be represented by the international lenders.
Many times, farming has been treated as the least within the society. It is a ministry that is put to the back. There needs to be a shake-up right now before it is too late. Farming is the first, foremost and most important profession in the Bible. With the crisis now facing the nation, agriculture should be getting a great deal more funding than it currently is. There needs to be visionaries in that ministry in order to bring changes. It would be interesting to see Phillip Paulwell move to that ministry.
There needs to be better relationships between the Government and the nation's farmers and farming community. There also needs to be basic and advanced courses in agriculture in the secondary-level schools. There should be special classes for farmers (open also to the regular members of the community) in each parish updating on the various kinds of insecticides, and particularly for new farmers, courses on the role of a farmer and the times and seasons to plant certain crops, the effects of current environmental issues on agriculture.
They should also learn the Biblical principles in farming. The Three Feasts must be observed, as well as the law of gleaning and how to prevent praedial larceny through giving.
get serious about farming
If the nation is serious about farming, then the time has come for them to have a farming network, to promote local farming. There should also be more competitions among schools and communities, as well as a farmers' hotline that not only answers pertinent questions, but will also educate them on Jamaica's agricultural history.
The nation needs to provide valid contacts that will foster business relationships - long and short term - with banks, schools, universities and colleges - locally and internationally.
If we really respect the agricultural community and, in particular, our farmers, how many of our nation's farmers have received national honours or awards?
In order to get the youth involved in farming and save the nation, we need to get the local communications groups to get on board with the technology. We also need to incorporate our local athletes and encourage them to promote the noble institution of farming, especially those athletes who are internationally successful.
There are so many opportunities concerning farming, this is the time to put agriculture to the forefront, especially as an alternative to the International Monetary Fund.
If the country is serious about tourism, then the time has come for us to get young, talented people with the 'Artisan Anointing' (Exodus 35), to beautify the nation once again. Places such as Port Royal, Harbour View, New Kingston, Barbican, Westmoreland, Spanish Town, Old Harbour and May Pen all need to have major facelifts.
There needs to be a meeting with the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica and civil society. We need to have a competition and get the communities involved - get them to come up with new landscaping designs and ideas and even breeds of plants and flowers. So when the tourists come to our island, they will see its beauty, not only in the landscaping, but also in the gifts and talents of the people that live here.
Finally, as we seek to build and rebuild this nation, we must recognise that before the building, there has to be clearing and ploughing of the land. After that, we will see the real builders - those who are not political - who have the nation at heart.
Steve Lyston is a biblical economics consultant and author of several books, including 'End Time Finance' and 'The New Millionaire'.