Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Audley Shaw is encouraging small dairy farmers to get ready for a turnaround of the industry.
According to the minister, permission will be given to several large companies to import dairy cattle from disease-free countries so that the shortage can be filled, because “we want to rebuild our industry”.
Delivering the keynote address at the launch of the 2019 Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show on June 5 in White Marl, St Catherine, Shaw said that the administration wants small farmers to start raising dairy cattle again.
The minister added that the same route will be taken to ensure a thriving beef cattle sector as the patty-making industry is purchasing more than half of the beef that they require from abroad, which he described as “unacceptable”.
Shaw also used the occasion to assure members of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) that under the repositioning of the group from being an affiliated agency of his ministry to a non-governmental organisation, support for farmers will not be diminished.
“The Government is not going to abandon you. We are going to work with you to do the transitioning in an orderly fashion, and most importantly, to make sure that you are at your productive best and to support the over 230,000 small farmers in this country,” the minister told the farmers in attendance.
The show will be held from August 4 to 6 at the Denbigh show ground in May Pen, Clarendon, under the theme, ‘Grow What We Eat … Eat What We Grow’.
President of the JAS Lenworth Fulton said the event is moving to become an agro-business expo, where “business and investment opportunities in the sector can be initiated, pursued, and consummated”.