Chairman of the All-island Jamaica Cane Farmers Association, Allan Rickards, wants the government to place more emphasis on rural development as a means of helping to revive what he describes, as the country’s ailing agricultural industry.
He says, all 5 sectors of the country’s agricultural industry are in turmoil, namely: banana, coffee, citrus, coconut, and sugarcane.
In an interview with Irie Fm News, Mr. Rickards says, the country needs a holistic approach, towards reviving the entire sector for future development.
Mr. Rickards says, the revival of the sugar industry will take about 10 years, and will need people who are committed, for the long haul.
He laments, that big companies, which will sell-out after two years of no profit, is not what the industry needs.
The Cane Farmers Association chairman, points-out, that Jamaica currently imports 7 thousand tonnes of refined sugar, annually.
He says, the country needs to focus on producing enough sugar locally to satisfy the local market with brown and refined sugar, as this will save valuable foreign exchange.