Thu | Jun 8, 2023

Hi-Pro joins Grow Smart campaign

Published:Thursday | August 11, 2022 | 12:06 AMCecelia Livingston-Campbell/Gleaner Writer

The Jamaica Broilers Hi-Pro division has offered strong support of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries’ new Grow Smart Eat Smart campaign by empowering local farmers with strategies to produce more and better yields, but also to help their own business growth.

Over the three days of the Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show, farmers and visitors to the Hi-Pro booth were treated to insightful ‘tech talks’ on topics ranging from Securing Financing For Farming, Spoilage Production and Conservation, Genetics to Improve Meat and Milk Yield, as well as general topics on food independence presented in over 26 sessions.

Colonel Jamie Ogilvie, vice-president of Hi-Pro Division, said the company wanted to make it relevant to Jamaica and local farmers.

“So we chose to focus on food independence, and food independence mainly speaks to a sustainable domestic food production system. This year we decided that when we came to Denbigh we going to share everything about production of food – whether it is livestock, poultry, crops, marine, apiculture,” he shared with The Gleaner.

“When people leave Denbigh, we want them to think food independence and what better time around Independence to talk about it, if nothing else we want people to start tasting their independence because they can grow what they eat,” he said.

With an ‘army’ of veterinarians, animal nutritionists and technical experts, Ogilvie said the intention is to play a ‘hands-on’ role in pushing the Grow Smart agenda.

He said the team of presenters comprised subject matter experts from the industry, including primary producers, processors, value-added people or persons who have diversified and integrated into areas like agro-tourism.

The talks were streamed live on the company’s social media platforms in hopes that other farmers who didn’t attend the event would tune in to the informative sessions at their leisure.

Ogilvie said the company has already started discussion with the ministry about products which will be developed to assist with the roll-out to re-energise the message.

He said it will take leveraging not just technology but processes which provide persons with even basic knowledge.

“We interact with Jamaica’s small farmers and what we found out is that somebody is doing some kind of farming for years, but they have a bad practice, so they’re not getting the best yield,” he notes.

He says while there is usually resistance from some farmers to change despite obvious benefits, the goal is to focus on getting the information to impact the larger community.

“When we come upon resistance, we always try and target influential farmers in their community so that they can carry the message. Once you see somebody you trust having results you are going to switch much faster than if I, as a stranger, come and tell you, you need to try this. So, we empower people in the community so they carry the message,” he says.