With the convening of department heads within the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, the ministry is confident that 2019 will culminate on a positive note, as experts within the agricultural sector and officers deliberated on a feasible pathway with the aim of forging an improved sector in 2020.
This came on the heels of the 2020 budget presentation and the need to employ proper implementation measures, in an effort to maximise the use of a $157.2 million allocation for the agricultural sector.
It was two days of meaningful contributions at the annual Senior Management Retreat at the National Stadium.
“Very good retreat,” said Supervisor for the Northern Agricultural District, Maximus Lazarus. He noted that, “It gives a platform for take-off for a new beginning, for a new scope to have things organised.”
Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Elvis Morain, was instrumental in opening up this platform for officers. According to him, this was needed to ensure that things are not done in the usual fashion, and in an adhoc manner, but strategically, for the benefit of the sector.
“The ministry is basically looking at refocusing its efforts and it came on the backdrop of the budget preparation and our rate of implementation, and we thought it was necessary to pool our senior management team, as well as some selected officers, to really delve into how we would want to see our implementation being done in 2020…
“…We looked at the votes with Ministry of Agriculture; the allocation there. We are going to come up with a proper implementation plan, as well as, a cash flow forecast so that we can properly time table our activities next year, and we can have proper implementation,” PS Morain remarked.
A representative from each department of the ministry was present at the sessions. Representing the Veterinary and Livestock Division was Chief Veterinary and Livestock Officer, Dr Kimmond Cummings.
Dr Cummings believed that the sessions were especially beneficial to the new officers employed within the Ministry. “It is a good learning experience for the young persons that have just joined the Ministry, as to how to develop a proper work plan and what are the expectations as we move forward, in terms of implementation. Basically, what would really happen, as an officer, your priorities are what are in the work plan, everything else is secondary. So, it is good that persons really understand…” he said.
The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) main aim is to promote and support agriculture and rural development and has over the years made intense contributions to the thrust of the ministry.
IICA’s National Specialist, Derek Charles, said, “With this retreat, it was encouraging to know that the implementation of certain plans would not be done in silos, but people are going to come together and work to the benefit of the agriculture sector on a whole. There are a number of things that I learnt here, that are critical to the development of the agricultural sector, in terms of the plans and projects. One of those things is the modality in which they should approach the work; they should be aligned to the Medium-Term Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals and the Sustainable Development Plan.”
Some of the strategic areas of focus for the ministry in 2020 are Youth in agriculture; Praedial larceny; Entrepreneurship in agriculture; Enhancement of the soursop industry.
Ministry of Agriculture & Lands
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