Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Professor Kenneth Hall has lauded the work of farmers, stressing that their interest and welfare should be of great importance to the nation.
The Governor General was speaking on August 4 at the Denbigh Agricultural and Industrial Show, which was held in Clarendon from August 4 to 6.
Professor Hall said that the contribution of agriculture in the farming communities went beyond production, employment and income, noting that it was not just a matter of economics, as farmers have built and sustained communities in districts, villages and towns across Jamaica.
“They have developed our social infrastructure, producing leaders, professionals and businessmen. They have enriched our folk culture with its distinctive Jamaican flavour and they have played a critical role in passing on the intangibles of positive values and attitudes, which continue to strengthen the social fabric of our society,” Professor Hall said.
He also stated that the successes within the agricultural sector were achieved in “the face of great odds.”
“Farming is not an easy life and there are many hazards and challenges. Natural disasters take a heavy toll on our agricultural sector. However, we must make the effort to mitigate the effects of hurricanes, floods, droughts, as considerable damage continues to be inflicted on our farmers,” Professor Hall said.
In the meantime, Professor Hall said the use of technology could help in the transformation of production techniques, noting that advances in biotechnology and mechanical devices were of particular importance in helping the drive towards lowering production cost and increasing competitiveness.
“Diversification and greater levels of investment in agriculture should be made to assist in this process. Of particular importance is the drive towards agro industry and increasing the level of value added through food processing. These things are possible and it makes us hopeful for the future of agriculture,” the Governor General said.
The Denbigh Agricultural and Industrial Show is the Caribbean’s oldest agricultural show and was held under the theme: ‘Agro- technology: Advancing National Development’.