Damani Tabor, public relations officer for the United Progressive Party (UPP), wants to know why the name of “the Special Adviser to the Cabinet on Agriculture” has not been revealed.
Last Wednesday, February 22, this special adviser met with the Executive to share his vision for the future of agriculture, given its current challenges – including the persistent drought conditions, the lack of water to farms, roaming animals, and praedial larceny.
According to the Cabinet Notes, the special adviser’s knowledge “of plants, plant life, and the ability to utilize an e-system to measure and predict growth and yield is considered remarkable.”
Reportedly, the person is also able to provide large consumers, like hotels, with local produce.
Further, the Notes say, this person believes the Central Marketing Corporation (CMC) should intensify its collaboration with farmers, in spite of their practice of selling their best produce to the hotels and supermarkets and the less-attractive remainder to the CMC.
The Cabinet, led by E.P. Chet Greene, minister of agriculture and trade, reportedly plans to encourage farmers to change their marketing practices, so they can maximize the returns, including possible export of their produce.
The Notes also claim that the upgrade of tractors remains an important element in the planned transformation of the agriculture sector.
Meanwhile, Tabor is asking why the adviser’s identity is being kept a secret.
He is also reminding the public that the Cabinet cannot be trusted and residents cannot believe anything it says. After all, he points out, the Gaston Browne Administration had eight years to implement these very ideas – and has failed to do so.
The UPP spokesman says the Government has failed to support local farmers in a meaningful way, and many continue to struggle to make a decent living from their trade.
In the meantime, farmers have been speculating about the unnamed special adviser. They are wondering whether it is the recently named chairman of the CMC or an agriculture extension officer who is reported to be already a consultant on Prime Minister Browne’s farm.
“Either way, none ah dem know anything that the rest of us don’t know already,” one longtime farmer tells REAL News. “And if, indeed, dem know so much, why hide?” he asks.
His partner agrees, adding, “What I know, for sure, is that it better not be a Chinese.”