During the pandemic, front line workers around the world have been hailed for their heroic acts and for risking their lives to flatten the COVID-19 curve. While such praise is justified as front line workers are indeed deserving of same, Regional Agriculture Officer (RA0), of Region 10, Derick Collins, believes that the same level of attention, gratitude, respect and appreciation should be given to farmers, as they too play a pivotal role in ensuring that citizens remain fed during this very trying time and even before 2020. “Just as frontline healthcare workers are hailed as heroes, those who staff the critical infrastructure of our food system, deserve recognition and gratitude, not stigma and neglect, during these trying times,” Collins said.
In this regard, farmers were on Wednesday awarded for their unwavering dedication to ensuring persons remained fed during this time, something Collins believes is being underappreciated.
Facing a plethora of challenges including inclement weather conditions, diseases, limited marketing and lack of funding, farmers continue to face their fields daily, to ensure market bags are filled and persons do not go hungry.
Those who were awarded included cash crop farmers, integrated farmers, livestock farmers and agro-processors. In his short address, Collins said that each category of farmers plays a pivotal role in the chain of supply. They work long hours, enduring the heat and often go unnoticed for their contribution to society; a contribution that is very vital to our very existence. “Oil we can’t drink oil, gold we could only wear it, but food is life,” Collins said.
Regional Executive Officer (REO) Dwight John, said he is cognizant of the many challenges farmers face in Region 10, particularly those residing in far flung areas. One of the major challenges is finding market for their produce, which result in largescale wasting of crops. He said efforts are being made through the Department of Agriculture to alleviate these issues, through collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, to ensure farmers get adequate marketing for their products. He also said support will be given to ensure farmlands are maintained and the necessary drainage and irrigation mechanisms are implemented, to ensure farmers do not work under duress.
Those who were awarded included Mr. Lincoln Oselmo, Agreyam Adams, Mr. Baljit, Oswald Hartman, Sewnarine Rambharrat, Abiola Lewis, June Samuels, Fitzgerald Howard, Dianne Plowell, Denise Gordon and Mr. Owen Desouza.