Local farmers learn from the Jamaica experience

Agriculture officials in Antigua and Barbuda, along with a number of farmers, will be comparing notes with their counterparts in Jamaica as they seek to bring further improvements to this country’s thriving agricultural sector.

This is the main aim of a one-week tour of the “land of wood and water”, which was sponsored by the Commonwealth of Learning in association with the Jamaica-based Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA).

Senior Extension Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Owolabi Elabanjo is leading the 11-member delegation which left Antigua early last week.

“This tour is an eye-opener for our farmers that are here,” he told OBSERVER media. “It is an experience for them to see the level of collaboration among the farmers in Jamaica. They realise that most farmers are not working individually; everybody collaborates within the district and within each settlement.”

He said there is a high level of co-operation among the Jamaican farmers every step of the way from land preparation to the marketing of produce to local consumers.

Speaking from Jamaica, two members of the Antiguan delegation – farmers Itan Henry and Nicole Phillip – said they were rather impressed by what they saw, and would be working to incorporate some of those practices upon returning home.

“They have a system where they have over 200 thousand farmers registered, and at any given time they can tell you what the farmers have in the ground and they can also do a forecast to say what particular crops are coming,” Henry said.

Phillip told OBSERVER media that the level of collaboration she observed reminded her of earlier years when our forefathers worked together to achieve desired results.

“They have carts where if I am going to plant this week, everybody in the village would come and plant and then they would move to the next village,” she said.

The delegation is expected to return from Jamaica later today.