Dr Carl Larsen (left), Executive Secretary of the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS), welcomes the Hon Floyd Green, Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, to the 10th GFRAS Annual Meeting in Negril, Jamaica, on October 1, 2019. Others from left are Peter Thompson, Chief Executive Officer, and Nigel Myrie, Chairman, both of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority. The forum, which has delegates from several countries such as Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, Bolivia, Korea, Italy, United States and South Africa, is being held under the theme 'Role of Rural Advisory Services in Climate Change & Disaster Risk Management'.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, the Hon. Floyd Green, has challenged rural agricultural services providers to be advocates of change, as they examine their role in climate change and disaster risk management.
The Minister made the call on Tuesday, October 1 as he delivered the keynote address at the official launch of the 10th Global Forum for Rural Agricultural Services (GFRAS) Annual Meeting being held at the Royalton Negril hotel, September 30 and October 4, 2019.
“I urge you to use your group as an active and a global forum to continue the advocacy for improved rural advisory services! Let your voices be heard; speak to your governments and represent our farmers in this new dispensation that requires all hands on deck to confront climate change,” said State Minister Green.
He added that rural agricultural services and agricultural extension services were absolutely important for the success of agricultural production and so welcomed the GFRAS conference as a coming together of critical players and experts in the field to meet, review and exchange ideas for combating threats and challenges while identifying and agreeing on strategies to constantly improve agriculture and rural development.
Minister Green said that investment in agriculture was of particular importance and that more capital investment and partnerships in the agricultural sector were needed and urged more captains of industry to partner with small farmers in mother-satellite farm relationships.
He called on local investors and the private sector to “look to the agricultural sector; take that leap of faith; take the risk; bank on agriculture”.
Government, Minister Green said, was looking to expand extension services to better serve farmers. Among the strategies to mitigate the impact of climate change was the provision of irrigation systems and national tree planting projects, including a fruit tree planting programme to be implemented by the agriculture ministry.
The 10th GFRAS conference, which is being held in the Caribbean for the first time, was co-organised by the Caribbean Agricultural Extension Providers’ Network (CAEPNet) and the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) and involved the participation of rural agricultural service providers from across the globe.
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The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries (MICAF) has been charged with the responsibility of driving the integration of the production of primary agricultural produce along all the stages of the supply chain through to value added and facilitating full commercialization of outputs of the agriculture, manufacturing, and service sectors.
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