I rarely take politicians seriously or believe they are serious but the recent call by the Robert Mantaque for the government to push agriculture production for the Venezuelan market is a credible call and intent.
From press reports we are cognizant that Venuezuela has a consistent deficiency in basic items and consumer goods. Personally, I do not believe that the Venezuelan media is reporting in error. I can recall that in 1980 my neighbours Jamaican-Venezuelans informed that Venezuela with its oil revenues had the bad flaw of high importation, importing even simple toilet articles that were commonly produced in our Ashenheim Road/Spanish Town Road Industrial space.
Jamaica is ripe for tropical produce despite the limitations placed on the small and medium scale farmers. Fact is we are definitely not short on agricultural produce. Currently, there are surpluses in some items, for example plantains , scallions and occasionally fruits such as pineapple, melons and tomatoes. One only has to visit the Coronation market on weekends especially late Saturdays and realize the surplus of plantains as vendors and market higglers find themselves with too much unsold stock.
Small and medium farmers are crying weekly as sales at local markets are saturated with sales in dollar value failing to cover expenses incurred in production.
The government must now take a serious look in driving export to South America which as the Senator stated could defray the Petro Caribe funds outstanding to the Venezuelan state. Government cannot remain in a dream state thinking Venezuela is going to perpetually provide funding to a “Caribbean friend.” It is time to get our house or rather or books in order and Venzuela should be happy if their imports can be partly satisfied by Jamaica. In fact both countries are tropical , hence crops produce and eaten are not dissimilar.
It is therefore on those who we elect to manage the affairs of this country for the benefit of all citizens to do what is best in the agricultural industry . In this regard the government should empower more small farmers and establish proper and efficient warehousing and export facilities with haste. Failure to do this will only extend poverty which is at the necks and backs of the majority of the people evident by the mass migration from rural areas to Kingston since 2010 and the increased vending we are witnessing in every nook and cranny of Kingston, Spanish Town, Spaulding, Brown’s Town, May Pen and all other parish capitals and rural towns.
If you like this article please consider joining our Forum HERE to help us grow.
Remember to share this article on Facebook and other Social Media Platforms. To submit your own articles or to advertise with us please send us an EMAIL at: [email protected]. Subscribe to our mailing list to get new articles sent to you automatically.