Much scope for agri revival
THE EDITOR, Sir:
Jamaica and some other countries, agriculture is not given the pride of place that it deserves. Many young people see farming as a dirty, grubby and despicable job. Nevertheless, some prefer to engage in praedial larceny.
In Canada, the United States and Sweden, people engage in extensive and mechanised farming to the extent that they produce food for the local and external markets. Here in Jamaica, we import tomatoes and carrots from Canada. Consequently, our economy cannot grow.
The deplorable state of the agricultural sector is a manifestation of the economic dualism which exists in Jamaica. Economic dualism is a situation in which one sector of the economy, e.g., telecommunication, is advanced, while another sector, like agriculture, is backward.
TURNING THIngS AROUND
In order to change such a negative situation, it is recommended that:
1. Jamaicans begin to consider agriculture a very important human endeavour;
2. Idle lands in St Ann and other parishes be utilised for farming; the National Youth Service be extended to the agro-industry;
3. Agronomists, agricultural engineers, horticulturists, agricultural economists, extension officers visit our schools to sell agriculture to students;
4. The Government go beyond the mantra 'Grow what we eat and eat what we grow' to the provision of funding for farmers, and fight praedial larceny.
In conclusion, I say kudos to the Ministry of Agriculture and the Rural Agricultural Development Authority for yearly organising the Denbigh Agricultural and Industrial Show. On such occasions, the handiwork of our farmers is showcased and top-performing farmers are rewarded. This is a step in the right direction.
Claremont, St Ann