Green pushes for cut­ting-edge tech­nol­ogy in agri­cul­ture

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Paul Clarke/Gleaner Writer paul.clarke@glean­erjm.com

AGRI­CUL­TURE AND Fish­eries Min­is­ter Floyd Green says his min­istry is mov­ing quickly to strengthen the sec­tor with plans to pull farm­ers fully into the tech­no­log­i­cal age.

Green de­liv­ered the main ad­dress dur­ing yes­ter­day’s vir­tual con­fer­ence in ac­knowl­edge­ment of World Food Day un­der the theme:“Grow, Nour­ish, Sus­tain To­gether”. Ac­cord­ing to Green, many ru­ral farm­ers do not have ac­cess to“cut­ting-edge tech­nol­ogy, in­clud­ing the In­ter­net”. “This is some­thing we must ad­dress. In or­der for agri­cul­ture to do well, in or­der for us to sur­vive and for us to have food se­cu­rity, our farm­ers and fish­er­folk must have ac­cess to the best tech­nol­ogy, and it must start with ba­sic ac­cess to the In­ter­net,” Green said. The agri­cul­ture min­is­ter said it was the Govern­ment’s re­spon­si­bil­ity to pro­vide af­ford­able and healthy di­ets for all its peo­ple and stake­hold­ers and to pre­serve the coun­try’s nat­u­ral re­sources, bio­di­ver­sity, while tack­ling the ma­jor is­sue of cli­mate change. Green said a bet­ter sys­tem of fore­cast­ing pe­ri­ods of glut and short­ages was needed to mit­i­gate those sce­nar­ios and re­duce the vul­ner­a­bil­ity posed to the sec­tor while in­creas­ing re­silience at the same time.

There are more than 220,000 reg­is­tered farm­ers and some 26,000 fish­er­folk lo­cally.

“Those peo­ple, or farm­ers and fish­er­folk, are our food he­roes,” Green stated, adding that World Food Day presents the world with an op­por­tu­nity to in­sti­tute more ef­fi­cient sys­tems, such as cut­ting-edge tech­nol­ogy, into the sec­tor.

“As a Govern­ment, we recog­nise the crit­i­cal im­por­tance of pro­vid­ing safe and nu­tri­tious food, par­tic­u­larly for our poor and vul­ner­a­ble ci­ti­zens. This must be, and has been, a crit­i­cal part of our re­sponse to the COVID-19 pan­demic,”Green said.

“It can only be ef­fec­tively achieved if we all play our part, our farm­ers, fish­er­folk, the agro-pro­ces­sors, and, of course, our con­sumers.”

Stud­ies show that there are 30,000 ed­i­ble plants world­wide, yet the world de­pends on 66 per cent of foods from just nine plants.

“With the im­pact of cli­mate change, we have to make sure we have drought-re­silient va­ri­eties,”he said, adding that food wastage must be tack­led even as Ja­maica strives to­wards crop di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion among other tar­gets for food se­cu­rity.

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