Ag minister stresses unity

The need for more unity between farmers, the Agriculture Society and the Agriculture Department is necessary to get the job done.

This was the message from Agriculture Minister Kurt Tibbetts at the Agriculture Society’s annual general meeting to elect new officers held at the pavilion Monday evening.

Mr. Tibbetts said if they want to move forward, they had to develop the will to work together.

He said he detected a little bit of tension within the agriculture community. But regardless of the problems farmers are having, the only way they were going to get the job done is to work together, hear what the problems are and fix them.

‘I want to say this to you more so than any other time in our lives, the Caymanian society is developing a dependence on the farmers in this country.

‘We have a golden opportunity to do all of the things that we have argued about. The community is much more receptive not only to produce but to the livestock as well and we all see the results of that,’ he said.

‘It makes no sense for me to stand here and talk about all the resources that are available through the department unless farmers are all walking on the same song sheet.’

To accomplish that, Mr. Tibbetts said they should set a date where all the farmers could be present to sit and talk things through, to find out what was not right, to get it right and move forward in sync.

He also said joint efforts produced successful events such as the last agriculture show, which was perhaps the best ever, even though there was a lull after Hurricane Ivan.

On the rollover policy, Mr. Tibbetts said he knew some farmer were disgruntled but said they had nothing to fear.

‘The government has no intentions of not hearing your circumstances. While we may not be in a position to accommodate everything that the farmers want, certainly the farmers will have as great an opportunity as the bank manager to make their case for any deserving exemptions to valuable employees.’

Mr. Tibbetts also spoke of the Agri-Tourism project and the need for people to buy into it because it was the community’s project and it had the ability to become something that future generations would be delighted about.

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