Sat | Sep 24, 2022

Agriculture Minister urges farmers to embrace change

Published:Monday | August 1, 2022 | 3:55 PM
Pearnel Charles Jr (3rd left), Minister of Agriculture & Fisheries, presents Chelisa Osbourne and Jolio Gordon with a replica of their cheque after being named National Youth Farmers during the 68th Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show in May Pen, Clarendon on Saturday, July 30, 2022. Sharing the moment are (from left) Collin Virgo, Chairman Jamaica 4H Clubs, Franklin Witter, Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries, and Dr Ronald Blake, Executive Director, Jamaica 4H Clubs. - Nathaniel Stewart photo.

Minister of Agriculture Pearnel Charles Jr says Jamaica’s farmers must embrace change as the country presses ahead with growth and food security.

Charles Jr says adoption and innovation are critical components of enhancing the industry.

“Change is coming whether you like it or not because this is the new era of agriculture in Jamaica. We are going to do things that make sense for agriculture in Jamaica, even if it doesn’t make sense for you,” he declared during his address on Saturday at the 68th staging of the Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show in Clarendon.

He highlighted that Jamaica is pursuing several avenues in agriculture, one of which is the government’s wheat flour substitution programme in response to the global shortage of the community.

The government will be targeting breadfruit and cassava to create gluten-free flour as a healthy alternative to wheat.

Charles Jr said that this is the kind of thinking that’s needed in agriculture.

“It is going to present to the country a different diet, cassava, breadfruit and sweet potato. So, this is about us changing our thinking. Too many people in Jamaica, for different reasons, some for their own self-interest, don’t want change,” he said.

Highlighting the impact of crime, climate change and other hazards on agriculture, he said stakeholders must see these as important reasons to adopt to change.

“We have to operate more efficiently and we have to make sure that we are coordinating and operating towards better production and better productivity and we are promoting what we grow to what we eat and how we produce,” he said.

Charles Jr also highlighted the growth of the agricultural sector, noting that it is on the right trajectory.

He also praised the innovation that is taking place in the sector, pointing to the use of drones to make production more efficient.

“This is what we mean when we say Jamaica is going to grow smart and eat smart. The point is the new era of agriculture in Jamaica is the era of innovation and efficiency towards sustainability and food security, this is how Jamaica and our region are going to grow smart and eat smart.”

- Cecelia Campbell-Livingston 

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