By Quinell Ming
The Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Audley Shaw cautioned farmers of the possibility of them loaning their farmlands if they remain inactive.
This message came in the Minister’s main address at the St. Mary’s Agricultural Show held on Monday, April 22 at the Gray Ann’s Sporting Complex.
Shaw pointed out that owners of privately maintained unused farming areas must lease them to persons who pill plunge them into production mode. Saying that “lease out the lands to persons who will put them into production”
The Minister went on the say that farmers of chartered farming areas from the government will be given a time period to put the land to use. According to the Jamaican Observer, he said: “When you lease government land, whether you are a large, medium-sized or small farmer, we are going to give you a specific time frame within which you must put the land into production”.
Shaw’s message to everyone gathered at the Agricultural Show and by extension, the local farmers was delivered with the intention to highlight the government’s efforts to develop the agricultural sector which will, in turn, cut down on food imports and grow the economy.
The Agricultural Minister highlighted that 800 million dollars is allocated for the repair of farming roadways. This is a follow up to the Minister’s claim of his Administration’s commitment to undertake “the largest farm road (rehabilitation) programme in Jamaica’s history which includes the upgrading and installation of irrigation facilities over the next four years.
He also mentioned that a major plan is currently being developed for micro immigration systems for local farmers.
At the last Agricultural Show held in Montpelier St. James on April 2, 2019, Minister Shaw said that the growth thrust requires “all hands on deck” including members of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS).
“We need to embrace and tap into this vast reservoir of farmers, mobilized under the banner of an institution that is over 125 years old. We need to establish a genuine partnership,” he said.
However, while farmers are being supported by the Government, it is time they become proactive and make use of their farming areas before they are repossessed by the government.