Farmers ready to take action against proposed agri project

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Gameal Joyce, executive member of the National Coalition of Farmers (NCF), is adamant that the time for diplomacy has ended and action should be taken  against the government’s proposed Chinese agricultural project.
“At this point in time we cannot be talking anymore we have to actually put something in place to put this project on halt until we get to meet with the ministry We can no longer take the time to be diplomatic at this point in time. We know that they have started the project without us. The train has already left the station,“ Joyce said as he explained the NCF’s take on the controversial Chinese farming project on the Voice of the People (VOP) yesterday on OBSERVER  Radio.
He recalled that the general body of farmers had originally wanted to stop the project but the decision was taken to go the diplomatic route because the coalition did not want the farmers to come across as a bunch of ignorant, unprofessional individuals despite the general disrespect they claim was meted out to them by agriculture minister, Dean Jonas.
Stressing that diplomacy has not really worked, the NCF executive member explained that the body was invited to a meeting by the permanent secretary within the ministry of agriculture but because the meeting was on such short notice and the body was yet to meet and review the document, they asked for the meeting to be postponed.
This was confirmed by NCF member, Linley Winter, who called into the programme, stating that the ministry had set the date for a meeting with the NFC for July 3 but the time given to prepare for the meeting was just too limited.
Winter added that he believes that there will be benefits to the local farmers coming out of this project but farmers need to know what those benefits will be. He also referred to the issue of intellectual property rights in which the document states that intellectual properties will be shared by both parties but fails to give any further breakdown.
Joyce sought to make it clear that farmers are not against development but the NFC is seeking to meet with officials of the ministry of education to give their input and get an understanding as to how this project will affect the farming community and by extension, the people of Antigua and Barbuda.
He stressed that the vague nature of the document made it difficult to understand the parameters of the project.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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