Local farmers are being encouraged to support the agricultural sector’s modernisation by embracing ongoing changes across the industry.
“Farmers should not regard innovation and transformation occurring within the [agriculture] sector as a threat”, said Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Pearnel Charles Jr..
“Do not see it as an attack on you; see it as something to help you. Embrace the technology and incorporate it into what you are doing,” he said. He also urged farmers to become more actively involved in the sector.
He was speaking at a ‘Coffee Farmers’ Trade Day’ expo at the University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech) on Tuesday (March 14).
“Make sure that if there are seminars or workshops, you go and you learn. Make sure that if you have recommendations or constructive criticism, that you let them be heard. Things will not change for the better if you remain silent. We want our farmers to be more involved, and we want, as a Ministry, to be more connected,” he stated.
Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, who was also in attendance, reminded farmers that agriculture is essential for the tourism sector’s sustenance.
“Of all the partners that tourism has across the world… of all the key players that enable travel and tourism to happen, farmers and agriculturalists are at the heart of it and are the most important… because 80 per cent of the reason that people travel is to consume food,” he said.
Bartlett encouraged the farmers to continue ramping up production, pointing out that the demand for local goods has “increased tremendously” since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bartlett pointed farmers to the “stark reality that the opportunity for you to grow and expand and earn and to prosper from tourism is now better than it ever was in the history of tourism in Jamaica”.
The expo, which was attended by coffee farmers from Portland, St. Andrew and St. Thomas, was organised by the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) and the Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Regulatory Authority (JACRA), with support from the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF).
The ‘Coffee Farmers’ Trade Day’ expo was held as a build-up to the sixth annual Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival, slated for Saturday, March 25.
Tickets for the Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival can be purchased online at www.touchstonelink.com or from authorised vendors, such as Blue Brews Bistro, Rituals Coffee House, Starbucks, Cannon Ball Café, Café Blue, Island Coffees Café, and Deaf Can Coffee.
The prices are $5,000 for adults and $3,000 for children 12 years and older.
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