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Published:Sunday | August 1, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Based on how the sector is poised right now, do you think we need to declare a state of emergency for agriculture?

Anthony Lawrence, global brand manager, GraceKennedy Group

I think we should declare a state of emergency for agriculture for the simple reason that when you look at the research facilities available in Jamaica, when you look at the number of post-graduates that we have, we need to come back on track to be able to move forward. We need to fix our infrastructure, because to compete on the scale that we need to, we are going to have to lift our proficiency level.

David Martin, general manager – snacks at JP Tropical Foods

I think we should declare a state of emergency in agriculture, just like how we did the other day for crime and it seemed to have triggered six bills very quickly. We did the JDX and it has done dramatic things to the cost of debt.

Hugh Johnson, Jamaica Cocoa Farmers Association

We need to call out the army. We need to get the technocrats on-board. We need the personnel and we need the funding.
Conley Salmon, vice-president for agricultural marketing at Jamaica Broilers Group.

No, I don’t think we need to declare a state of emergency for agriculture. But we have to be very vigilant of what we have. We have to safeguard the successes we’ve had and work to build new successes.

Lisa Bell, chief executive officer of the EX-IM Bank

I do believe that one needs to be declared. To the extent that a state of emergency forces a country to prioritise the things that are important, I think in agriculture there are sectors (like cocoa) that need to be prioritised and to be given the resources and support in order to grow. However, my caveat is not all sectors, and I believe there should be increased focus on value-added production and not primary commodities.

Rolf Simmonds, commercial director, JP Tropical Foods

I believe one is to be declared. I think what the state of emergency will do is help us raise the consciousness of Jamaica, Jamaicans and Jamaican investors that there is a huge opportunity.

Sheldon Barnes, intern at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade

I would say emergency is a very strong term. It’s a sector that has a lot of opportunities and they are just underutilised.