It has been almost four months since Minister Godwin Hulse was assigned the agriculture portfolio for the country. Since taking over the ministry, Minister Hulse has had several meetings with stakeholders in various industries including sugar and citrus. In an interview with Minister Hulse, he spoke of the banana sector which underwent some strains in the south.
“The motto for this Ministry that I have launched is Let’s Get Growing which is a sensible motto I think. The whole idea is to expand our production and take advantage of the market that exists and or try to find new markets. The overall position is to create employment for people in the rural area, earn foreign exchange and of course that is the final goal. So far I have visited with Bananas, as you know there are changes with the EU with the British with Brexit but of course Fyffe’s has sold to Sumitomo, we haven’t engaged Sumitomo yet but we don’t expect that it there will be any significant change with Fyffe’s we hope not at least. Banana looks good, it’s going to recover. The John Zabaneh that fell out because of the issues with John a Zabaneh and the US that was about 15% of the production but that is, not his farm per se but that production is being made up by other farms as well.”
As it relates to the shrimp and the citrus industries, the agriculture minister says that he is hoping that the country will see an upturn in citrus.When it comes to sugar, Minister Hulse says he is pleased with the recent figures.
“I also had visited with the shrimp people, there is a lot of talk about the early death syndrome that shrimp had but they are conquering that, they understand what it is they know how to deal with it and the Shrimp farmers are employing the technique and technology to be able to come back so I have good hopes for Shrimp. We visited with Citrus, had a long all day meeting with them and as I told you earlier we are going to go to look at their nursery. Citrus again I have to get on top of the greening issue and I can assure the ministry will do everything to try to do that. We’ve moved from about 7 million down to to three, that is not good, we hope to get up back to those glory days especially if we were there now where the price is at the best it has ever been. We toured of course sugar as you know the factory is working wonderfully right now deliveries are good, they are ahead of schedule, the out turn is good, the mud is a little lower but the ton sugar per ton cane is pretty good so far from the weekly report I get so we are pleased with that. There is a way to go with sugar of course so that we can begin to take in and ensure that all the farmers can deliver all the crop they grow and also new farmers may be able to enter that market.”
The coconut industry is what the minister has dubbed as a new budding sector as he spoke of this and other commodities and their potential in the productive sector.
“We are pushing that I had a visit with coconuts it was a wonderful visit I had no idea there was about 4,500 acres of coconuts but it seems that it is a new budding industry and has great possibility. Vegetables as you know we are producing some good onions and good potatoes, we had a meeting yesterday with the potato farmers to try to allay their fears that government is not going to give any permit to bring in potatoes while they have and there is a meeting on Friday with the onion farmers as well. So over all it looks pretty good and I have a lot of faith in agriculture, you know that is my background and is where I am and where I was in the private sector and that is where I am now in the public sector so I have good hopes that we can rebound and agriculture can regain its position as one of the fundamental strong pillars of the economy.”
Minister Hulse told Love News that he is operating under the motto, ‘Let’s Get Growing’.