Senior Minister with responsibility for Agriculture, Dr. Timothy Harris met with livestock farmers on 7th June, 2011 at the Edgar T. Morris Primary School, Tabernacle to discuss with their challenges and the forecast for that portion of the agriculture sector.
Accompanying the Minister were: Livestock Officer Dr. Tracey Challenger, Extension Officers Jenaldo Gilbert and Trevor Herbert and Director of Agriculture (Ag) Mr. Thomas Jackson.
The Minister expressed to the farmers gathered that his main reason for attending the “sit down” was to “to hear their concerns and beyond hearing to see if collectively we can work out solutions to your problems and address your concern.”
The farmers, the minister and the other department representatives engaged in a question and answer session and according to a release from the Ministry of Agriculture, a number of recommendations were “agreed upon for implementation”.
Senior Minister Harris explained to the farmers that having reviewed food import statistics for the Federation, he has observed that there is opportunity, but noted that the increased input of government is needed.
“When I examine the food import statistics and see that we import twenty six million of meat products (2008), I see a great opportunity for even one quarter of that money to stay here because our farmers can produce more mutton, beef, pork and rabbits for domestic purposes. I really want to help. I feel that government must do more to help you. You can tell me the precise areas that you need help in so that I can better put your case forward to the government” said Senior Minister Harris.”
The farmers were assured by the Minister that their survival in the agriculture sector is important to him.
“I know this is what many of you depend on for your livelihood, to pay your electricity bills, take care of your family needs etc. So it is important to me that you are able to see your way and live from your honest endeavors.”