I recently watched a feature that recapped the Denbigh Agricultural Show in Clarendon. During an interview with the president of the Jamaica Agricultural Society, he expressed enthusiasm about the prospects of Jamaicans producing - even to the point of helping to feed the nation. The produce featured consisted of Jamaican powdered yam, dried corn, breadfruit chips, and pastries made from yam.
While I commend these accomplishments, I am amazed at how year after year the nation is called to celebrate the creativity and industriousness of our farmers, but our vision can never result in these goods ending up on our local shelves. The Ministry of Agriculture has been promoting the tag-line "Buy Jamaican, build Jamaica", yet I question if this tag-line is just a mere campaign slogan to hide the reality that supermarkets and wholesales across the island stock more imported produce than local.
Given this trend, we could never seriously expect young professionals like myself to start businesses in farming and agriculture. I commend the government on its recent trip to London to "ramp up" interest in Jamaica and agriculture in particular. Yet, it seems to me that we have been here before and the talk of investment is not new on the lips of the present and previous political administrations. Why should I invest in my country if my country does not see the need to invest in its own people?