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Farming and community intertwined.
Community Community Sharing skills

MANDEVILLE, Manchester — The close linkage between community organisation and successful farming came to the fore at a recent monthly meeting of the community-based Production Marketing Organisation (PMO) at Grey Ground, just east of this south-central town.

“We want farmers from their different communities not just to be good farmers but to uplift themselves in terms of building a proper and functioning community,” Laureceene Hanson, executive member of the Manchester PMO and adviser to Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), told the Jamaica Observerduring a break from the meeting.

She claimed that the PMO had been successful in assisting “a lot of youth” who had dropped out of school to resume their education. Some were also receiving training through the HEART Trust/NTA as a result of the intervention of PMO groups, she said.

“Many persons who before didn't have any vision or hope are doing better in their lives through the PMOs…” Hanson said.

 She suggested that farming suffers in situations where communities are not well organised.

 “A farming community that does not rise is not an excelling farming community,” Hanson said.

Representatives from 15 PMO groups in central and north-eastern Manchester attended the meeting to make plans for this weekend's Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show in Clarendon, as well as for the development of farming in Manchester.

Lennox Powell, chairman of the RADA Board in Manchester, told farmers to stay organised and to encourage others to register with RADA. They should also join PMO groups and attend meetings regularly as a way of helping themselves and their community.

“Farming is being recognised in this country in a significant way, register with RADA, be proud to say 'I am a farmer'… Remember we feed the nation,” he said.

Powell told his audience that Manchester was ahead of the pack in terms of domestic agriculture and needed to play an even stronger role in the drive towards economic growth for Jamaica.

While happy with the work being done by the PMO in Manchester, farmer Jerome Lothian from Banana Ground was dissatisfied with RADA. Since the floods in June, which destroyed much of his yam crop, he was yet to see a field officer, he said.

“They promised to come, but I haven't seen anyone,” he said.


— Garfield Myers