Permanent Secretary of Agriculture, Michael King, takes note (closest pictured), along with Minister of Agriculture, Dr. David Estwick, Dr. Chelston Brathwaite, Chairman, National Agriculture Commission and Gregg Rawlins, IICA Regional Coordinator for the Caribbean during the Opening Ceremony for the National Consultation, today at the Savannah Hotel in Christ Church. (A.Miller/BGIS)

A senior government official is urging representatives of the local financial sector to rethink the role they play in the support of agriculture and fisheries.

The call has come from Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management, Michael King, as he addressed the opening ceremony of a National Consultation on a White Paper for Agriculture at the Savannah Hotel this morning.

The preparation of the White Paper is but the first step in a process that will lead to the transformation and the repositioning of the local agricultural sector.

He told those gathered that commercial banks had a critical role to play as government embarked on the process of transforming and repositioning the agricultural sector.

"For too long commercial banks seemed not to understand the developmental role that they have to play and I think in terms of their contribution to national development… Persons in the farming community, the fishing community and agribusiness sector are glad to have you here [so you can understand] the challenges in terms of the undercapitalisation of agriculture and the access to capital for small business people in the agribusiness and fisheries sectors," he said.

The National Consultation was an opportunity for the Ministry of Agriculture to engage stakeholders on ways to move the sector forward and assist in the development of a White Paper.

The whole-day session was attended by representatives of the public and private sectors, the farming community, civil society and non-governmental organisations.


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