Roger - 'man for all seasons'
THE EDITOR, Sir: We give thanks for the life of the late Minister of Agriculture & Fisheries Roger Clarke, who was a 'man for all seasons' and a great supporter of the Jamaica Egg Farmers Association.
We pay tribute to Minister Clarke who was one of the first policymakers to recognise the association as a voice of the local egg farmers. He was also instrumental in the association establishing the island's - and indeed the region's - first liquid pasteurised egg-processing plant in Montego Bay, which has provided value-added to our egg farmers. In fact, with the setting up of this plant, the Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries - under the leadership of Minister Clarke - was able to put a halt to the importation of liquid egg, which had caused severe hardships for local shell-egg producers up to that time.
We also wish to pay tribute to Minister Clarke who guided us in the process of capitalising the liquid pasteurised egg plant through a loan disbursed by the Agricultural Support Services Project of the Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries. And, we are pleased to note that the loan which facilitated the start-up of the liquid-egg plant in 2007 was repaid in full in March 2013.
Last year, Minister Clarke included eggs as one of the main ingredients of the island's Schools Feeding Programme, replacing butter fat. Under this arrangement, local farmers have an initial projection to supply 2,000 dozen eggs per month to the programme, with the strong potential for further increase.
As Minister Clarke is laid to rest this Saturday, we wish to honour his memory as a staunch advocate of the Jamaica Egg Farmers Association and his support of the vision of the association for continued growth and development. We also which to express our appreciation of the fact that he facilitated our meeting requests through his 'open door' policy and gave us the benefit of his expertise, primarily as a farmer.
We shall miss his energy, warm personality and patience and pray that God will give his wife, Sonia, and children the strength they need during this time of grief.
Jamaica Egg Farmers