Jamaica Broilers boss warns against complacency in agriculture sector
Christopher Levy, president and chief executive officer of the Jamaica Broilers Group, has warned against complacency in light of recent gains in the agricultural sector.
Commenting on the growing professional approach to livestock rearing, as well as crop farming, which has resulted in increased production as well as higher levels of productivity, much more still needs to be done, he said at last week's media launch of the 65th staging of the Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show.
“The challenge I feel that we have to be careful of in this country now is that we don’t think that we’ve arrived where agriculture can go. I think there is a lot more on the table for us as a nation from an agricultural perspective. And while the contribution is significant to the nation, I think there is a lot more that can be done and we’re gonna see it at Denbigh. We’re gonna see a lot of the developments. If you look at the folks that are going to be there, you’re looking at a multi-layered approach,” Levy said during the event held at the Hi-Pro Ace Supercentre at White Marl, St Catherine.
For this reason, the Jamaica Broilers Group head expressed optimism that agriculture would continue to grow, despite the many challenges, with the resilience of the Jamaican farmers critical to this growth.
“I’m really excited. I think it is going be a great year, I think it’s going to be a fantastic year for agriculture. Most of us in here are farmers and you know you gonna have the ups and downs. Too much rain, not enough rain; breeze, no breeze; sun hot - but that’s the resilience of farming. You have to be able to go through the good times, you gotta be able to go through the bad times and that’s why farmers always have a longer view of things,” he said.
... The industry is fragile
Karl Samuda, Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, noted that the susceptibility of local agriculture to extreme weather conditions remains a very serious concern.
“It is a fragile sector. Every time there is bad weather, either drought or flooding or hurricane, the sector dips. Growth can only be achieved if we provide the necessary infrastructure to make that possible, and the main infrastructure is the supply of water to irrigate the fields,” the minister said at last week's launch of the 65th staging of the Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show at the Hi-Pro Ace Supercentre at White Marl, St Catherine.
“There has to be a consistent supply and we have to move from providing less than 10 per cent of irrigated water to the irrigable lands in our country, to at least 50 per cent to be able to have any level of consistency in the growth and development in our agricultural sector."
The premier agriculture show will take place from Saturday, August 5 to Monday, August 7, at the Denbigh Show Ground in Clarendon.