«Mr Speaker, it is indeed my pleasure and a quite distinguished privilege to rise in this Honourable House to make this presentation. At the outset, I ...»
Mr Speaker, it is indeed my pleasure and a quite distinguished privilege to rise in this Honourable
House to make this presentation. At the outset, I want to thank my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, he
who saw not what I was but what I could be. I want to thank the Comrade Leader and Leader of The
Opposition for her continued people-centred approach to leadership and for having the requisite
confidence in me to give oversight responsibilities for the Ministry of Agriculture. I must extend my gratitude to MP Victor Wright, deputy spokesperson on Agriculture, who has a wealth of expertise in the area and who is focused on lifting the lives of people. My gratitude to my family cannot be overstated and I want to make special mention to the newest member of the family, my bundle of joy, Princess Madison. To my councillors, the constituency executive, workers, supporters and wellwishers I thank you, you are the reason I am standing here today in service of my fellow citizens. In February as the wave of change rushed to the political shores you never vacillated, indeed you did not gamble you stuck with Campbell.
St Ann North Western Mr Speaker, in St. Ann North Western we have been carrying out our community consultations in an effort to create the development plan for the next four (4) years and beyond. We believe that listening is the most important aspect of leadership, we are well aware of the fact that we, as leaders, do not have custody of all the solutions thus we have sought to get the ideas and opinions of the people. The Social Development Commission has also done some noteworthy work in this regard and it is our intention for our data to dovetail into theirs as we seek to build stronger Presented by Dr Dayton Campbell Sectoral Presentation 2016 communities and empower people to become self-reliant. To this end we have developed a
framework that will see us focusing on:
1) Poverty Alleviation and Prevention
2) Economic enablement
5) Health care
7) Youth and community development I will give more details on these focus areas at the constituency debates later this year.
Agriculture Mr Speaker as I rise to make my first contribution to the Sectoral Debate in my capacity as the Spokesperson on Agriculture and Fisheries; it is my responsibility to share with you in brief, based on the time constraints my vision for agriculture. Firstly, we must note that the sector is a fundamental pillar to economic development and propriety for not only the farmers and the rural population, but for all our people. The sector employs approximately 200,000 persons representing close to 20 per cent of the labour force, contributing 6 -7 per cent towards our GDP. The sector is an important pillar to integrated rural development and it is the mission of ours to work with all stakeholders, the JAS, RADA, the 4H Club, farmers and all agencies to develop and expand the sector. I would wish to applaud the JAS for the celebration of their 120th Anniversary, the 4H Movement for their 75th and RADA for their 25th. All these organization close their one-year celebration recently and I applaud
2012 to 103,000 in 2016. I would also like to congratulate the JAS and the Ministry for the upcoming Denbigh Agricultural Show, the 64th staging, which is set for July 30th to August 1st and will aim to attract over 50,000 patrons.
Many have asked, how does Dr Campbell, a medical doctor, fit here? Well sir, medicine teaches us to first take a detailed history of the situation then examine it thoroughly after which we investigate and come to a diagnosis this is then followed by treatment, it is this teaching that has caused me to seek to understand before seeking to be understood. I will be applying this discipline to the oversight of the Ministry of Agriculture.
Mr Speaker, we need Jamaica’s best and brightest to embrace agriculture as a calling and career.
I am of the firm belief that laws should be enacted to address problems that we are confronted with. Agriculture is the greatest employer of labour in the country, employing over 220,000 small farmers. It is a fact, though, that our young people are not attracted to the discipline as we would want or expect. We have to inculcate in their minds the importance of agriculture as a viable means of lifting them from abject poverty and establish that there is honour in hard work. We have too many of our young people who are unemployed or underemployed, it is clear in my mind that this is a recipe for future disaster and agriculture is the antidote. What do I suggest then, Mr Speaker? Well,a few things, I believe we should make agriculture a mandatory subject in schools up to the CSEC level, we should ensure that tertiary facilities expand their offerings and market these programs so that more persons are aware of the potential lucrative careers agriculture offers. We must continue to support young people who choose agriculture as done through the agro-investment cooperation
a very lucrative business, it is not just about tilling the soil. The current average age of the Jamaican farmer is 37 years, coming down from a high of 57.5 years in 2006 (RADA 2006). The data also revealed that farmers between 16 and 25 only represented 3.2%. The main reasons for not wanting
to pursue a career in agriculture included:
1) The perception that agriculture provided low financial returns
2) It consisted of intense manual work (with limited benefits)
3) Involved limited /no application of technology
4) The perception that their peers would not be in favour of them pursuing careers in
Mr Speaker, one of the greatest inhibitors to growth in the field of agriculture is the lack of access to farms; this knowledge instructed the previous administration to approve over 500 million up to February to benefit 11,500 farmers directly under the National Farm Road Rehabilitation Program.
Mr Speaker, if we are to seriously get more small farmers producing we have to ensure that they can get to their farms with easier access and get their produce from the farms to the markets. TVJ news recently highlighted the plight of farmers in Portland, I am therefore encouraging the current administration to continue to have a sharpened acuity on this area and move with haste to increase access.
Mr Speaker it is important for us to give sufficient attention to the development of rural infrastructure, the obfuscation surrounding the highway from Harbour View to St. Thomas is of major concern. It is a very narrow minded approach to say it does not make economic sense, just think of the income from Blue Mt. coffee, the two agro-parks and plan to establish more agro-parks in that end of the island. Mr Speaker, as a member from a rural area, like myself, I am sure you are concerned with this stance. The Leader of the Opposition in her presentation said that “the road to development is the development of roads”, the finance minister needs to stop and think of the tremendous contribution made to the country’s GDP by agriculture and how that would be greatly enhanced by developing the rural infrastructure in the country.
Consider for a second, the impact of Blue Mountain Coffee on the economy:
1. Estimated total value of US $50 Million, St. Thomas produces 25% of this total value
2. 200 thousand boxes were produced. Note that Blue Mountain Coffee prices to farmers have increased under the PNP, from a low of $2,500 under the JLP to $12,000 per box under the PNP and more farmers are now planting blue mountain coffee.
3. An additional 1000 acres of new planting is now in progress across three parishes St
Yallahs Agro- Parks
1. 500 acres 37 farmers 2. 40% now under production
3. Last year 107 tonnes of onions were produced in this park PGR Agro-Park
1. 290 acres 57 farmers
2. 78 acres under production 3. 2015 65,000lbs of Pumpkins and 50,000lbs of onions was reaped.
MR SPEAKER, in developing rural infrastructure we can G.R.O.W, GENERATE REVENUE FROM OUR WORK.
Mr Speaker, another cry of the farmers of this land, the land of wood and water,is for proper
irrigation systems. The previous administration had proposed the following for 2015/16:
1) Complete the infrastructure works (including irrigation systems) in progress at the Spring Vale/Ebony Park, Yallahs, New Forest, Duff House, and Myersfield Agro Parks, to the tune of
Also, additional projects were being done to assist other farmers. The black tank project, was one such which was far reaching, and efforts should be made to continue that program.
I am pleased to learn that the Government of Jamaica will be pushing along with Caribbean Development Bank to implement the Essex Valley Irrigation System in South St. Elizabeth. The twelve water-harvesting systems for St. Thomas, St. Mary, St. Ann, Trelawny, Manchester and Clarendon will go a far way in solving some of the issues especially in light of the climate change phenomenon.
There is cause for concern about the moving of National Irrigation Commission from the Ministry of Agriculture to the National Water Commission, which is already struggling and is probably the most inefficient service provider in the Government.
MR SPEAKER, in expanding irrigation we can G.R.O.W, GENERATE REVENUE FROM OUR WORK.
Mr Speaker, we must establish climate resilient agriculture policies and strategies on the background of research and development to promote climate smart agricultural techniques consistent with the National Food and Nutrition Security and climate change policies. We are well familiar with the
farming systems are open field and rain-fed, thus the agriculture sector stands to take a major hit from droughts. The Bodles Research Station, therefore, should be upgraded to do the necessary research. The Ministry has a critical role to play re: public education and mitigating against the impact through the Climate Change Adaptation Programme.
Consider the effects of some extreme events below:
Mr Speaker, the solution to this scourge remains one of the most pressing issues, this solution has remained elusive for a prolonged period, the previous Minister of Agriculture and National Security ought to be commended for having the JCF leading the anti-praedial larceny charge. Those who seek to reap where they have not planted should feel the full force of the law, we have to ensure that there is quick response from the police when these dastardly acts are reported and that those perpetrators that are accosted are prosecuted, a critical component of this fight lies in the National Animal Identification and Traceability System (NAITS). Citizens and corporations must also play their role in ensuring that as far as they are aware they do not support those who pillage the farmers produce.
MR SPEAKER, in preventing praedial larceny we can G.R.O.W GENERATE REVENUE FROM OUR WORK.
The mission of the last administration was to place agriculture on a sustainable path of growth through the expansion of the Agro-Park Development Programme Export Initiative. The agropark concept has played a central role in restructuring the sector; the agro-parks have addressed some of the structural challenges of the sector. It has reduced the incidence of a myriad of small farmers operating on small plots of land, largely marginal, producing on a subsistence basis and unconnected to the market this practice prevented any significant infusion of technology to lift
nine (9) agro-parks through a mix of public investments, public-private partnerships and in every instance connecting farmers with markets. The food import bill decreased by 15% in 2015 that is a savings of 10.5 billion over 2014 due to increase production, we must get the existing agroparks to full production capacity through completion of the infrastructure works and then move to establish new agro-parks.
Irish potatoes- we achieved 90% self-sufficiency Onion development program has moved from 7% of market in 2013 to 12.6% in 2015 These were achieved despite the drought.
Mr Speaker, from the agro-parks we can G.R.O.W GENERATE REVENUE FROM OUR WORK.
Mr Speaker, as much as agriculture now contributes to the nations GDP it can do more, this is possible by us going further along the value chain. We have so many crops that during season there is a glut on the market and the majority goes to waste, a simple example is mangoes, I believe we will create thousands of jobs by investing in the appropriate research and promotion of these opportunities, we must no doubt eat what we grow and grow what we eat, but we need not stop there we must export and process the rest. The further along the value chain you go is the more income one will generate.
MR SPEAKER, in agro-processing we can G.R.O.W GENERATE REVENUE FROM OUR WORK.
driven, it is in this vein that I want to commend the former Minister of Tourism for the Tourism Demand Study. This enables us to determine and quantify the existing and potential demand for goods and services across the Agricultural Sector, the highest demand was for fruits, where it was seen that hotels purchase in excess of 500,000 pounds per month. Mr Speaker, I will not go into details with each area, suffice it to say that, we must use this information to instruct our farmers as to what to grow knowing that there is a market readily available for their produce.
MR SPEAKER, in making the linkages in tourism we can G.R.O.W, GENERATE REVENUE FROM OUR WORK.