The Hon. Floyd Green, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries has hosted a series of meetings with farmers and fisher-folk through an island-wide Listening Tour. This tour commenced on Thursday, October 1, 2020 through to Saturday, October 24, 2020.
With the main purpose to ascertain the concerns, challenges, daily issues and interests of the fisher-folk and farmers, this information was collated to ensure that a plan of action is crafted to assist in directing the priorities and most urgent matters to be dealt with by the Minister.
In addressing fisher-folk on October 22, 2020 at the Port Maria Parish Church, Minister Green stated “the best wat to get to the root of the problem and to find solutions is through the source, the first stop and step is to hear from the farmers and fisher-folk and tell how we can solve the issues facing us together".
The Rural Agricultural Development Authority was responsible for facilitating the meetings with the farmers while the National Fisheries Authority worked with coordinating the fisher-folks.
The meetings were sectionalized to include farmers for the morning and fisher-folk at the afternoon session. Also each meeting took two forms, face to face and virtual sessions using a satellite site. This allowed for the Minister to interact and gain information from a wide – cross section of persons within a short time period especially when observing protocols as it relates to COVID-19 safety and precautionary measures.
Noting that climate change and its realities has tremendously debilitating effect on players within the sector, this has been a perennial issue for both farmers and fisher-folk alike during the meetings. Nevertheless, during the meetings workable solutions were presented and it was also made clear that when the players organize and are structured within groups to market, gain funding and capacity building this allows for increase in livelihood and overall growth within the sector.
The Praedial Larceny Prevention team headed by Bishop Dr. Gary Welsh also participated in the tours focusing on informing farmers and fisherfolk on the importance being placed by the Ministry in the fight against Praedial larceny and how stakeholders can work along with the team to drastically reduce the scourge of Praedial thieves.
Through these interactive meetings the platform has been set to develop strategic and pointed initiatives to directly benefit the farmers and fisherfolk alike.