Lady joins me in thanking you for the warm welcome to The Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show 2018.
From a small, promising beginning in 1952, this Annual National and International Event has become a major feature of our Independence Celebrations.
Allow me to say special thanks to the Custos Rotulorum of Clarendon, the Honourable William Shagoury, who is not only a shining star in the Denbigh sphere, but a hardworking Custos, who provides outstanding support for The Governor-General’s Programmes and an avid supporter of the program’s undertaken in the parish.
I also express appreciation to the President of the JAS, Senator Norman Grant, for his long and faithful service to the Organization. He did everything he could to advance the development of Agriculture in Jamaica. Thank you Senator.
I greet, Mr. Lenworth Fulton, who will shortly accede to the Presidency of the JAS and wish him abundant success at the helm along with his team. Please be assured that the Patron’s given to your predecessors, will be given to you lavishly as well.
The JAS is blessed to have had effective leadership over the years, and I hope that this trend continues. Some say that leadership is about building a community of leaders at all levels of society. I believe this is an apt perspective on what the JAS does.
I pay tribute therefore to the Leadership, Management and Membership of the Society for the way it has developed over its one hundred and twenty-three-year history.
You have made Jamaica proud as you played your part in:
- Increasing food security in the nation.
- Expanding agricultural exports.
- Modernizing agricultural practice.
- Creating space for innovation and value-added product development.
- Encouraging broad acceptance of the need for responsible environmental protection.
In making these commendable contributions to the national economy, you have also been an exemplar of citizen engagement and democratic practice.
You have given voice to your members across the national spectrum, from small farmers to large landowners, from young student members to experienced producers.
You have embraced opportunities to promote the linkages which enhance productivity and profit; and the multiplier effect of your work, at every level, has positively impacted the fabric of our nation.
And I hope that you continue to advance the agenda to “Grow what we eat and eat what we grow” – while increasing your contribution to the industry in all the ways that you currently do. I encourage you to extend your reach further into sectors and enterprises which will increase national productivity.
This year’s theme “Agriculture Securing our Future” invites us to adopt a comprehensive rather than a short-term approach to growth and development in general. Both the National and the global arena compel us to be strategic.
The fact is that, although we may be doing well in terms of our economic indicators, we still remain in the category of Developing Countries, which are at the back of the line as it relates to rate and level of growth. We are still in a slow growth situation, even while working to accelerate.
The international economic climate remains uncertain for lower and middle- income countries. A look into the future will not necessarily fill us, and many other countries like ours, with a great deal of satisfaction.
Perhaps in the eyes of some, neither optimism or satisfaction.
But we are Jamaicans, and we can do amazing things disproportionate to our size – surpassing the expectation of those who do not know us well. This year, as we meet at Denbigh, the JAS and indeed the nation at large Are aware that “We must secure our future and we must do it with what we have within our possession”.
Agriculture has been one of our many strengths and we must not be afraid to trust in it and to invest in it. I believe that, as we have seen in every important aspect of life, we must learn to play to our strengths and find a winning formula.
Playing to our strengths requires that leaders must inspire… members must be inspired and together, both leaders and followers- unite to achieve the best, for the good of all. The JAS has demonstrated the ability to do that. The proof is in the contribution made in the past and in that which is currently being made, not only to our GDP, but to the quality of life, particularly rural life throughout the country.
We have no alternative but to work as a team, as there is no substitute for effective teamwork. Now is the time when we need ‘all hands on deck’. We have to hasten the marriage of the innovativeness and the energy of this technologically savvy Millennial generation, with the discipline, the attention to detail, and the spirit of cooperation of the older players in the sector, to create an unstoppable force for good in this country.
Competition may be the order of the day in the world at large, but let us ensure that we strengthen our Jamaican team in every competitive encounter that will enable us to win, even against the odds. Let us ensure that the public and private sectors facilitate each other, supporting production processes and the marketing of goods, with the safeguards of quality standards, in a timely and seamless manner to give Jamaica the competitive edge.
I am convinced that Team Jamaica, united in vision and purpose, with Agriculture playing forward in the striker’s position, can rise above the challenges of: climate change, a criminal minority, and global uncertainties. But unity and teamwork must be constant.
While being mindful of obstacles, I am convinced, that if we:
- preserve our cohesion as a team,
- protect the integrity of what we do,
- and keep our focus on the goal of living in a progressive and prosperous Jamaica,
the secure future we yearn for, will already be within sight.
Denbigh 66 is already a winner. The exhibits are awesome and demonstrate the creativity and ingenuity of our people, young and old alike. Proud to see our 15 year old livestock owner from Rhynsbury and the Heart Trust creative young people who will carry the baton into the future.
Let us take that and go forward to ensure greater levels of production, protection and processing of our agricultural products.
And in all things, whether it is sowing a seed, caring for and reaping the crops, livestock, landscaping or developing by- products, let us always be conscious – as most people like the farmers who live close to nature know, that ‘Paul plant and Apollos water, but the increase comes from God.
God bless you all, and may you have an enjoyable and productive Day 2 at Denbigh 66. And see you at Denbigh 2019 for Denbigh 67.