RADA CEO outlines factors that may affect supplies for Christmas season
KINGSTON, Jamaica – Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Winston Simpson, has cited several factors that may impact supplies and prices leading up to the Christmas season.
These include seeds not germinating because of the excessive heat, lack of labour, and supply-chain issues being faced based on the slow movement of goods coming through the Panama Canal.
Speaking at a JIS Think Tank, Thursday, Simpson said although the Authority anticipates a good Christmas season for the agricultural sector, there were challenges during the year that are affecting consumers now.
“One of the critical issues that most persons don’t seem to speak about is what causes any shortage or increase in prices. There are two critical factors. One is that a lot of the seeds did not germinate because of the heat we experienced this year,” he pointed out.
This year, the month of July was the hottest month recorded on Earth. Simpson also said another critical factor is insufficient labour.
“A lot of farmers will tell you they have produced but they need human capital to plant and reap. There was one farmer who called us from St Thomas, who said he has over 10 acres of Scotch bonnet peppers and he needs hands to reap them, so we have to be looking at technology, tools and equipment to assist farmers in the coming year,” the CEO said.
“We understand, and we know that once we improve our tools and equipment then we can suppress the prices,” he added.
As it relates to the external factor, Simpson said the importation of things coming through the Panama Canal, such as seeds and fertilisers, are being delayed, “so, sometimes the crop cycle is lengthened and the planting period is affected”.