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Discussions to be held with private owners of idle lands — Shaw

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

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MINISTER of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Audley Shaw says discussions will be held with private landowners for them to lease thousands of acres to farmers.

Delivering the keynote address at the St Mary Agricultural Show, held on Monday at the Gray's Inn Sports Complex in Annotto Bay, Shaw said while the ministry is making State-owned lands available to farmers, privately owned lands are idle, and an incentive must be created to “lease out the lands to persons who will put them into production”.

He also called on farmers to use the leased land wisely or they will lose it, under the Government's new agricultural thrust.

“When you lease government land, whether you are a large, medium-sized or small farmer, we are going to give you a specific time frame within which you must put the land into production,” the minister told the audience.

Shaw pointed out that a “major plan” is being worked on for micro irrigation systems for small farmers across the island, as the Government is committed to the continued development of the agricultural sector.

The minister added that some $800 million will be used from the current budget to repair farm roads.

Shaw pointed out that through a “productivity incentive” scheme being administered by the Rural Agricultural Development Authority, “we will try and help the small farmers to increase production and productivity”.

On the matter of formalising the national school-feeding programme, Mr. Shaw said the move is to ensure that children are not consuming unhealthy foods, as “we can feed our children with locally grown and highly nutritious products, while generating income for the country's farmers”.

— JIS


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