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Daniel calls on the business sector to assist local farmers

Daniel calls on the business sector to assist local farmers


A call is being made for the business sector in this country to get involved and assist local farmers who are currently facing a number of challenges.{{more}}

Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Montgomery Daniel made this call as he addressed the Agricultural Exhibition held in celebration of the 25th anniversary of agricultural cooperation between this country and the Republic of China (Taiwan) on Monday, October 29.

“If it is one time that the agricultural sector needs your help it is now,” he stated. “For too long, the business sector has been distancing itself as a partner in helping to drive the agricultural sector,” he continued.

According to Daniel, due to the number of challenges that the traditional market has been facing, farmers are not responding well to the competitiveness of what is required for the new market regime.

“As farmers, we need to ensure that we can rise to the challenge, but at the same time we as consumers need to consume more of what we produce,” Daniel said. “I believe that it is high time that we see much more of our fruits and vegetables at our schools, hotels, at the restaurant,” he continued.

In echoing this call, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Commerce and Trade Sir Louis Straker said that many of the imported items such as onions and carrots should not be imported since we have the soil and climate to increase production for the local market.

The banana sector, he said, will continue to be under a number of challenges, but the Government has been encouraging farmers to diversify.

“We cannot give up on agriculture because all of us are full time eaters and we would need the produce here to eat,” Straker told the gathering.

He also encouraged the farmers to lift their standard of production in order to stand up to increased competition.

“We realize that in trying to diversify our economy and with the new matter of Trade Liberalization and the agreements that we are entering into with the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME), the EPA and the rules of the World Trade Organisation, we as farmers would have to learn to produce in a smarter way, because we would be competing,” Straker said.

He also urged the farmers to rise to the occasion and said he is grateful to the Taiwanese for their support and that farmers should take advantage of the expertise that they are provided with.