The annual National Agriculture and Trade Show is twenty four days away and as per tradition the 2017 Farmers of the Year have been selected and announced. The official announcement came today via a release from the trade show committee. Gary Canto of the Cayo District has been given the title of Male Farmer of the Year while Merva Flowers of the Toledo District has been named the Female Farmer of the Year and Santiago Gutierrez of the Cayo District is the Junior Farmer of the Year. Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Jose Alpuche spoke on this tradition and the concept.
“The farmer of the year is done specifically to highlight farmers that promote good agricultural practices that usually have a diversified farming system and that are in effect leading examples in the area where they are located. We have a national selection process and there is a committee which involves some people from the Ministry as well as outside the ministry that actually decide on the awarding of the farmer of the year but its mainly aimed at highlighting those with diversified farming systems and that are in effect leading examples to others.”
“The list of farmers that are actually looked at is there a database that the Ministry has of farmers around the country?”
“Yes and it’s done based on suggestions that we get from our extension people as well as from others who give us suggestions on farmers we should visit so it’s an open process.”
The panel of judges included Martin Lindo of the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI); Andrew Mejia of the Ministry of Agriculture; Nonato Canto of the Pesticides Control Board and Martin Castillo of the National 4H Youth Development Centre.