'Minister Clarke, what is happening in your ministry?'
JAMAICA Observer online readers have expressed disgust at the mismanagement by the Government-run Agro Invest Corporation (AIC) which has left several St Thomas farmers deep in debt. The Observer reported yesterday that the AIC's incompetence has resulted in the loss of a projected $50 million worth of onions at the Plantain Garden River (PGR) Agro-Park, and left each of the more than 40 farmers involved with the project owing $300,000 in loans to the St Thomas Co-operative Credit Union. Here are some edited comments:
Where is Mr Clarke? He must respond to the plight of these farmers. I wonder who was keeping a check on what was happening and why no reports were made on this severe situation?
The minister touted loudly and frequently on the news that the agro parks would have been successful and we still await the good news on this. However, these farmers are losing their money, families and soon their possessions due to what I consider as mismanagement.
I wish that someone will be made to pay for these errors. Will this also die a natural death -- a seven-day wonder in the media? Journalists, here is an opportunity to represent people by ensuring that the minister responds with no more empty promises.
Another failed attempt of this government to deliver on a promise because of poor planning and poor execution. Seems to me the management team was woefully lacking in farming and management experience.
Is our government really serious about helping Jamaican farmers? Judging by this story, it doesn't seem that way. Perhaps this is why I see so many imported food products in the supermarkets.
From the get-go, I saw straight to the heart of this illusive "Agro- park" crap: it is nothing but organised plantation system. It is
a throwback to the days of colonisation.
What needs to happen is that farm roads should be fixed. This will give the individual farmer access to market. It would drive up competition all across the island. It would therefore increase production and quality.
This Agro-park idea is a very very bad one. Furthermore, part of the idea of a pilot project is to determine how feasible a major undertaking would be. What does this pilot project tell us?
@kennethreeves: Nothing wrong with the idea. It is failed execution that got these people into this mess. The farmers seem to have paid for services they were never rendered. Sadly, is they proceeded anyway, only to their detriment. What were these farmers thinking?
Farmers should organise their own co-ops so they can pool their resources in order to create seed banks, purchase solar-powered irrigation equipment, build water harvesting cisterns, etc. They should also consult with the Jamaica Organic Agriculture Movement (JOAM) in order to develop sustainable cultivation practices so there would be no need to use harmful chemical fertilisers and GMO seeds. Furthermore, they should, as first priority, grow crops that support the local market, then grow others for export.
This should all be done with no or minimal government involvement as it's been clearly shown that neither party has Jamaicans best interests at heart. Self-determination is the key to collective prosperity!!!
"Why we never spoke up about this before is because we didn't want it to affect the IMF deal". Phillips should surely thank you for such consideration. But do you believe HE and the IMF really care one iota for people of OUR status? Mi nuh tink so.
Very upsetting situation! Poor job, Ministry of Agriculture, and poor job, Mr Roger Clarke! Agriculture is supposed to be one of the main vehicles that will drive us out of our current indebtedness as a country. You can't have farmers and young farmers at that, eager and willing to do a back- breaking job such as this and treat them in this manner, disregard their advice. Many, I am sure, have years of experience that these knuckleheads in the ministry could learn from. Come on, Mr Minister, get with the programme! The time for skylarking is over, Jamaicans are waking up and they are not going to take the crap
Yet another failure of the PNP and yet another example that they can win elections but they have not a clue about how to govern.
There are always two sides to a story. Let's hear the other side before we rush to judgement.