Government is moving apace with plans for the establishment of a Sustainable Agricultural Development Bill.

According to Chief Agricultural Officer, Barton Clarke, efforts are on stream to have the draft Bill completed by month-end.  Mr. Clarke, who was recently addressing a focus group meeting on the proposed Bill, told stakeholders their full participation was being sought in order to foster transparency. He assured the farmers, farming representatives, producers and other industry partners gathered that their final comments on the draft would be sought before it was taken to Cabinet.

In echoing these sentiments, Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Patson Alleyne, said the Ministry was of the view that the legislation should be based on consensus among the various stakeholders.

While noting that the concept for the Bill was first posited in October, 2002 by the former administration in an attempt to improve the sector, Mr. Alleyne said recent challenges had made the “existing legislation even more inadequate and the need for new legislation even more pressing.”

“The Ministry intends to move with haste to have the legislation enacted. We appreciate your discussions, and your suggestions will be included to foster consensus,” he said.

The Deputy Permanent Secretary reiterated that the Ministry was committed to providing a supporting role for all the players in the agricultural sector.

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