Today’s Editorial March 03: Ag Show appreciated

By all appearances the 39th Agricultural Show was a riveting success.

Thousands of people turned out Ash Wednesday to Lower Valley to take in the sights, sounds and smells of the annual farm show.

And what a show it was; from the freshly groomed livestock to the bounty of home grown vegetables and fruit to thatch work, district displays and superb Caymanian food.

The good Lord provided a beautiful, cool day and the variety of entertainment proved that this annual show is just as much about our culture and heritage as our agricultural prowess.

Those who attended the opening ceremonies heard from representatives from Bermuda who told attendees that their country is also agriculture based, but is losing much farm land to development.

Most farms have been replaced by golf courses, only because Bermuda has a centuries-old policy that no urban development can occur on arable land.

There are still many small fields throughout Bermuda that are farmed. The rationale behind retaining them is based primarily on the open space values provided by the farms rather than the crops themselves.

Like the Cayman Islands, many of the goods consumed in Bermuda have to be imported.

We can learn a lesson from Bermuda before we let progress and development take over our farm land in the Cayman Islands.

To that end, we need to get more young Caymanians interested in farming.

That’s one of the goals of the annual Ag Show, to lure others to the raising of livestock and crops.

Farmers here are still successful in selling their crops to area supermarkets, including those who raise livestock.

The importance of agriculture to Cayman’s society cannot be overly exaggerated.

That’s another reason the annual show is so important.

Those who turned out for this year’s show received a treat.

Another lesson we can learn from Bermuda is the length of the show.

Their annual agricultural exposition lasts three days.

It would be wonderful if the Cayman Islands could expand its Agricultural Show offering from the one day, which is Ash Wednesday, a public holiday.

But before we consider expanding the day, the Agricultural Society needs to come up with a way to expedite the entry process to the show, with maybe more than one entry gate.

And of course, as the popularity of the show grows, parking will always be a challenge. Attendees can help with that issue next year by carpooling.

It was wonderful to have our full-fledged Agricultural Show back on tap this year.

Hopefully we’ll escape unscathed this hurricane season and will be able to anticipate an even bigger show next year.

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