THE EDITOR, Sir:
I am writing in response to Dennie Quill's article titled 'Jamaica must look to the soil for salvation' (Gleaner, February 20, 2013). This has been my song since I attended HEART Trust/NTA - Ebony Park in 1998, where I obtained training in crop production and horticulture.
It was while there that I really became aware that everything has an agricultural component. I hope that the eyes of our leaders - political and otherwise - would become open to this realisation and begin to put some effort into maximising the potential that this sector holds.
They are promoting 'Eat What We Grow', but where are the incentives for farmers who can hardly buy what they need? Fertiliser is at an alarmingly high cost, and so, too, farming tools. These costs are so high, it's ridiculous.
Even if you are able to get around some of these hurdles, the question is still being asked - what is the Government doing to make it a little easier for the farmer, especially the small farmer?
Many are realising that the soil is indeed where it's at, but there has to be some form of sweeteners to attract more persons to this sector.
1) Provide low-interest loans for small farmers;
2) Make allowances for fertiliser and planting materials to be obtained at cheaper prices;
3) Open outlets like the Agricultural Marketing Corporation for marketing of produce;
4) Open agro-processing facilities.
In countries where there is a shortfall, caused by economic conditions or otherwise, we are never able to rise to the occasion, even if we are geographically close. Where are the visionaries in this sector? Come on, Mr Minister, wake up!
VOICE OF CONSCIENCE
Linstead, St Catherine