The effort given to ensuring that clean agricultural produce make their way on to supermarkets shelves and to tourists should also be made for food items sold to locals in parochial markets across the island, Lenworth Fulton, president of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), has urged.
He said that the way market produce is presented and served, as well as the service delivery that goes with it, was a sad indication of how Jamaicans treat each other.
Fulton made the observation at Wednesday’s Women In Agriculture Conference hosted by the JAS, in collaboration with the Hi-Pro Division of the Jamaica Broilers Group of Companies, at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in St Andrew.
“It is something that is on my national agenda that the sale of foods from the parochial markets should not be different from those in the supermarkets because you are selling to your first-tier citizen. And your first-tier citizen is not the tourist and, therefore, we must do something about it,” he argued,
“This is an important aspect of the mandate of the JAS going forward as we firmly believe that by upgrading these touch points with the consumer, we can help to effect much-needed change in the perceptions of the importance of the agricultural sector. Additionally, we aim to have the markets running at a much higher standard, which will result in higher revenues for farmers,” he said.
TRIBUTE TO FEMALES
In a day of activities dedicated to women, 20 of whom where honoured by the JAS, Fulton paid tribute to females in the sector, noting that the media is still fairly fond of portraying women farmers as a novelty and not necessarily highlighting their long history of direct and indirect involvement in agriculture.
He cited the cases of women operating in the fields, involved in construction, as well as land preparation. Add to that the farm work groups going overseas that are all women, as examples of the strides that women have made over the years.
“We have women employed in the various forms of animal husbandry, including beekeeping; operating agri-business enterprises, including export enterprises; working in extension services; and, administratively, in the various departments that comprise the sector.
Meanwhile, group public relations and training officer at Jamaica Broilers Group Dahah Cameron expressed delight at the outpouring of support for each other, which was on show.
“There is a strength and a community that undergirds us, and we walk forward in strength, and it’s amazing to see the caring and the nurturing that is accompanying these very strong women and some with very shy voices but still very strong presence in agriculture. So we are very proud of the women, and we look forward to continue to support them,” she said.