Long-time farmer Neville Grant, from Dover in St Catherine, examining one of his piglets on Thursday. Grant, who specialises in mixed livestock farming, has a number of cows, pigs and layer hens on his farm. This has being his way of life from he was 12 ye

Kenyon Hemans/Photographer Long-time farmer Neville Grant, from Dover in St Catherine, examining one of his piglets on Thursday. Grant, who specialises in mixed livestock farming, has a number of cows, pigs and layer hens on his farm. This has being his way of life from he was 12 years old, he said.

Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Floyd Green has stressed the need for the adaptation and implementation of modern agricultural practices in order to move the sector forward.

Green, who declared the CASE Alumni Association’s Jamaica Agriculture Industry Stakeholders Forum officially open via Zoom on Thursday, said that a modern agricultural sector has a pivotal role to play if Jamaica’s economy is to truly recover from the COVID-19 hit and other challenges, and realise real growth.

He stressed that partnerships were necessary to develop a market-driven, research-based and sustainable agricultural sector.

“We have to all come together,” said Green. “So we have to have our agricultural stakeholders, have to have the private sector, have to have Government, and as you would have heard from my parliamentary counterpart, we have to have our Opposition on board.

“It has to be all hands on deck. There is no division in trying to work out how you can effectively provide for your country, and for me, this stakeholder conference signals that partnership and has gone a far way in ensuring that we bring the key players together to chart one course.”

He pointed out that whatever is done across the agriculture and fisheries industries should be driven by market demand.

“Our farmers are clearly entrepreneurs, and any good entrepreneur starts from what market are they trying to satisfy. And we have to ensure that we take the guesswork out of farming, and all over our island when our farmers go into the fields and when our fishers go out sea that they are sure of the market that they are targeting. We have to get back to the days of research excellence,” Green said.

“Your agriculture sector cannot advance further than your research agenda. It is just not possible. And when we stop paying keen attention to research, that is when we started to lose significant ground in agriculture,” the minister added.

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