By Chris Patterson
JIS Contributing Writer
MORANT BAY, Jamaica, June 28, (JIS) — The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries will be restarting its farmers’ market initiative at venues across the island, to address the glut of some produce.
This was disclosed by Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry, J.C. Hutchinson, at the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) St. Thomas Open Day, held at the Rudolf Elder Park, Morant Bay, on June 24.
“Right now we have a glut of quite a number of items, especially bananas,” the Minister said.
Hutchinson said the markets will provide an opportunity for consumers to buy produce at reduced prices, while allowing farmers to get rid of surplus crops.
In the meantime, he urged farmers to become members of community-based production and marketing organisations (PMOs), as this will ensure that genuine farmers are able to receive assistance whenever they need it.
“These PMOs are registered directly with RADA and, once you are registered with RADA, we are going to make sure that if you need inputs – fertiliser, chicken and spray – they go directly to the organisation,” he said.
Farmers in the PMOs benefit from training in marketing support and good agricultural practices.
The Minister urged the farmers to continue producing to help Jamaica achieve food security and enable the agricultural sector to maintain its role as a major contributor to the development of the economy.
“Agriculture is key to growing the economy; if agriculture does not grow, the economy cannot grow and I would like to lift my hat to all the farmers who are making it possible for the country to grow,” he said.
Hutchinson also addressed matters such as praedial larceny and the Agro Economic Zone that will be established in Spring Plain, Clarendon.
The open day highlighted the synergies created by agricultural affiliated organisations within the parish. Activities for the day included a farmers’ market and booth displays.
Farmers were also presented with trophies and other awards for their outstanding contribution to the agricultural sector.