'Look to agriculture' - MoBay Mayor Harris
Glendon Harris, president of the St James branches of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), said farmers in the parish should immediately seek to take advantage of the value-added opportunities which are available in the agricultural sector.
At the same time, Harris said agriculture can be the source of employment for many more Jamaicans and has suggested more persons get involved in farming activities, arguing that the amounts being spent hunting jobs have been proving to be counterproductive.
Harris, who is also mayor of Montego Bay, said ginger production in the parish has been improving and the product is in high demand. However, Harris said demand for value-added ginger on the international market is rapidly increasing.
"Ginger production in the parish has gotten to the level where the farmers can earn more than $50 per pound for the product. However, if we are able to properly package and even process the product, we should be able to rake in significantly more money. We would be able to employ some of our young people in the packaging and processing sector, which would ensure that the wealth is shared," Harris said in a interview with the Jamaica Information Service.
As it relates to employment, Harris noted that "young people are leaving our communities and spending over $600 per day to earn $7,500 per week".
"This is counterproductive and if these people seek employment in the agricultural sector or even start a farm for themselves, they could become financially independent. Opportunities are available in agriculture and we need to take advantage of them before they are snapped up by persons who have no real long-term commitment to the sector or the parish," Harris said.