More sellers than buyers at Hanover agricultural show
It was a classic case of ‘more sellers than buyers’ at Friday’s much-hyped staging of the 2023 Hanover Agricultural Show, on the grounds of the Bioprist Complex (formerly Jockey Factory) in Lucea, Hanover, as while there over 40 elegantly decorated booths, the turnout of patrons was most disappointing.
Franklin Witter, the state minister in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Mining, who was among the small number of patrons, urged those present to see agriculture as a viable option to earn a living.
“I am reliably informed that in Hanover, there are approximately 4500 hectares of arable lands lying idly... some of these lands having good arterial road network and are in close proximity to water. Agricultural expansion can lead to greater sustainability for farmers and their families,” explained Witter.
Witter says with the support of his ministry, the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) is now looking to undertake a structured agricultural development programme to drive productivity in Hanover.
In an interview with The Gleaner, Hanover’s custos, Dr David Stair, expressed much disappointment with the poor turnout of patrons. He suggested that the staging the event on a regular weekday may have been the main contributory factor. He conceded however that, as it was new, it would take time to grow to become a household event.“...my preference for its staging would have been on the weekend or a public holiday, because today is a school day and the children are in school, and adults are at work or have other things to do,” said Stair.
Tamika Davis, the member of parliament for Western Hanover, who was one of the early patrons, had expressed optimism that patrons would turn out in large numbers later in the day. To the disappointment of the organiser, that did not materialise.
“I must admit that in terms of crowd attendance, I was expecting to see more persons, but granted it is a Friday, and I am hoping that after the working hours more persons will show up,” Davis told The Gleaner . “We can’t take anything at all from the presentations, they are all of top class. The displays are most impressive, but the organisers can take a second look at the day the show is staged.”
Lucea’s Deputy Mayor Andria Dehaney Grant was somewhat saddened that the event had to be staged during a time that the parish is under a state of emergency (SOE), albeit recognising the need for the enhanced security measure.
“I think this show is a wonderful occasion for the parish of Hanover, and I am hoping that it will grow from strength to strength, as we all, in Hanover, come together to make it better,” said Dehaney Grant.“I believe that the day of the week might be a deterrent and I think that the organisers might have to tap into one of the public holidays to have a successful staging of this show.”
Kameil Scott, the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) parish manager for Hanover, acknowledged that much fine-tuning is needed to bring the show to where they would like to see it.
“In terms of organisation and having the exhibitors present that is excellent, but in terms of having the patrons to see what is available at the show, that we will have to look into,” said Scott. “The reason the show was not held on the most recent public holiday, Labour Day, was because there were too many competing events across the parish,” she explained.