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The Agriculturalist - Sept 2012 issue

The Agriculturalist - Sept 2012 issue

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Published by Patrick Maitland
The Agriculturalist is the newspaper for progressive farmers.
The Agriculturalist is the newspaper for progressive farmers.

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Published by: Patrick Maitland on Oct 09, 2012
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 By Patrick Maitland  Editor - The Agriculturalist 
he former chief executive officer of theRural Agricultural Development Au-thority (RADA) Alexander Powell hasfiled a lawsuit against the Ministry of Agri-culture and RADA claiming some $36 Min damages for wrongful dismissal in April.Chairman of the Board of RADA, Den-zil Williams
accused Powell of notsupplying original copies of his educa-tional certificates, failure to supply hisbirth certificate, improper use of theAgency credit card and the firing of theformer financial director Kareena Rambali.Powell told
The Agriculturalist 
that hefiled the lawsuit in an effort to seek legalredress following what he described as hisunfair dismissal and damage to his reputa-tions by the board of RADA.He however refused to comment furtheras “the issues are now before the Court,”but noted that all the charges against himare fabricated and lies.Powell was fired on April 26 after fouryears in the post following what has beendescribed as”worrying findings of an auditat the agency.” The audit claimed amongother matters that there was no documen-tation of Powell’s credentials on file at theRADA.In addition, the audit found that Powellmisused the Government’s credit cardwhich was issued to him.It is also reported that Powell circum-vented the Agriculture Ministry’s legal of-ficer and hired private lawyers in a matterinvolving the finance director who hadchallenged her dismissal.Chairman of the Board of RADA, Den-zil Williams challenged Powell to provideproof of his academic qualifications.He said the Board was prepared to headto court to lock horns with Powell who hedeclared did not have a case.Williams said the Board carried out thenecessary due diligence and sought legaladvice before removing Powell as the headof RADA.In commenting on the lawsuit Agricul-ture Minister, Roger Clarke, said Ministryis prepared to contest the suit.Meanwhile, the Board of RADA is pro-ceeding with plans to appoint a new CEO.Persons who applied for the post whichwas advertised a few months ago havebeen short-listed and the individual se-lected will be announced shortly.
World FoodPrices Up by 10%
By Doug PalmerWASHINGTON: (Reuters)
orld food prices jumped 10 per-cent in July as drought parchedcrop lands in the United States and East-ern Europe, the World Bank said in astatement urging governments to shoreup programs that protect their most vul-nerable populations.From June to July, corn and wheatprices rose by 25 percent each, soybeanprices by 17 percent, and only rice priceswent down, by 4 percent, the WorldBank said on Thursday.Overall, the World Bank's Food PriceIndex, which tracks the price of interna-tionally traded food commodities, was 6percent higher than in July of last year,and 1 percent over the previous peak of February 2011.
Continued from page 3
Powell SuesRADA for $36 M
ALEXANDER POWELLFormer CEO, RADAHas filed a lawsuit againstthe MOA/RADA claiming$36 M in damages.
Get YourCopies Today...
CallTricia and Lanceat 923-7471
orFarm Stores Islandwide
Agri Life Foundation has been established as a non-profit or-ganization to foster and encourage farmers to become more self-sufficient and competitive in a free market economy. One of themain ways that the Foundation will achieve these goals isthrough collaboration, professional support and advisory fromexperts in the field.Such collaboration will provide a platform where individualsfrom academia, business, government, and the farming com-munity can share research-based information and technologyregarding environmentally sound management and profitableagricultural production practices.For further information:Patrick Maitland, Executive ChairmanAgri Life Foundation, 188 Spanish Town Road, Kingston 11, Jamaica WITel: 923-7471; 923-7428 • patland2000@gmail.comwww.agrilifefoundation.org
he declining trend in local food pro-duction and the spiraling food importshave been a major concern for us as Ja-maica’s food security and farmers are atrisk.Jamaica’s food import expenditurerose by over US$100 million to reachUS$930 million at the end of 2011, whileagricultural export stood at about US$100million.Agriculture Minister Roger Clarke re-cently described the situation as ‘unsus-tainable’ and pledged to commit thegovernment to “redoubling its efforts to in-crease production and productivity, whileat the time promoting improved linkagesbetween farmers, agro-processors and ho-tels.”We are encouraged by MinisterClarke’s comments, however we are ex-pecting more tangible and immediate solu-tions to grow local food productions andstop cheap imports.Minister Clarke should immediatelyreview the ministry’s method of grantingapproval for the importation of agriculturalitems including chicken meat, eggs, fish,Irish potatoes and red peas.The general policy dedicates that theseitems should be imported to meet the short-fall in local production. However, in sev-eral cases some of those produce areimported without due regard for the levelof local production.It is an open secret, depending on whois the Minister of Agriculture or politicalparty in power, only certain people aregranted permits to import these agriculturalfoods which attract very high mark-up andprofit.Minister Clarke should therefore con-sider a more open and transparent methodof granting import permits and encouragethe farmers’ organizations including the Ja-maica Livestock Association (JLA) and Ja-maica Agricultural Society (JAS) toparticipate in these lucrative business op-portunities.The Ministry of Agriculture shouldhold public hearings and consultations withthe farmers and other stakeholders beforeconsidering the importation of any fooditems. The Ministry would adopt its ownstrategy of consultations as in the case of cane and fish farmers.The current tax package of applyingGCT on eggs, selected agro chemicals andthe reclaiming of taxes on other input sup-plies are pushing up the cost of productionthus rendering Jamaica farm produce lesscompetitive.The government should thereforeplace more duty on imported foods so thatour farmers benefit instead of ‘fatteningfarmers from abroad.’The government should also focus ongreenhouse farming or any other opera-tions to foster medium to large-scale farm-ing. Our small-scale and subsistencefarmers cannot produce to meet domesticand export demand at competitive prices.Now is not the time to produce sam-ples, we need consistently high volume andquality produce.While it is important for us to pickwinners in agriculture, the Governmentmust commit vast resources in order toachieve sustainable food production.As in the case of the tourism sector,where Government allocated millions toconstruct hotels and later divest them toprivate owners, but continues to spend mil-lions on advertising and staffing overseasto promote Jamaica’s tourism products.However, the Government’s support isnot the “cure-all” solution to grow agricul-ture. The management and leadership inagriculture must do their jobs. Agricultureis not a welfare industry, we are in thisbusiness to feed people and make moneyin the process.
Publisher -The Agriculturalisteditor@theagriculturalist.com
The opinions expressed in this newspaper, except for the above, do not necessarily reflect the views of The Agriculturalist and its publishers. Please send your comments or sugges-tions to editor@theagriculturalist.com. Responses should be no longer than 400 words.Not all articles will be published.
We Need Real and Sustainable Solutions!
World FoodPrices Up by 10%
Continued from page 1
U.S. soybean futures hit a record high of $17.78 per bushel in trading on Thursday,while corn futures remained near the recordof $8.49 set earlier this month.A severe drought in the United States hassharply cut corn and soybean yields thisyear, while a dry summer in Russia, Ukraineand Kazakhstan has hurt wheat output.The World Bank said its experts do notforesee a repeat of 2008, when a food pricespike triggered riots in some countries.Meanwhile, the Portia Simpson MillerCabinet has established a committee to for-mulate Jamaica's response to the possibilityof a significant increase in food prices.
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Dear Editor:
 just had time to read The Agriculturalist(August Issue 2012) and was taken abackby an error in a quotation from the Hon.Minister of Agriculture.Your article onPage 4, under the caption"Agriculture Ministry Pushing for SugarExpansion" reports the Ministeras saying"farmers need to lift the tonnes per acreyield from the low of 50 and 54 tonnes."While Iwas not at the function, I want tosuggest that the Minister wanted the yieldper hectare (not per acre) tomove up fromthe fifties. You see, 50 t/ac (125 t/ha)is ex-cellent cane yieldby any stretch of theimagination, and is a good standard pro-ducersshould aim to reach.You may want to correct the error in thenext issue! Too many persons are still stuckin the imperial system insteadof movingover to metric, the now world standard.
The Agriculturalist 
shouldalso strive touse metric units in all its publications.-Edmond Lewis<edlew@cwjamaica.com>
Publisher & Editor:
Patrick Maitland
Advertising Executives:
Tricia Reece • Lancelot Williams, Jr
Consulting Editors:
Vincent Wright, Jairzenho BaileyProduced & Publishedby:
Agri Life Foundation Ltd
AMC Complex,188 Spanish Town Road,Kingston 11, Jamaica, W.I.Tel: (876) 923-7471• 923-7428Fax: (876) 923-7428agriculturalist@gmail.comeditor@theagriculturalist.comwww.theagriculturalist.com
An Error in Minister Clarke’s Story!

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