New plans for Denbigh
THE Denbigh show-ground, in Clarendon is to see "continuous utilisation" against growing concerns about the cost to ready the facility for the annual agricultural show.
With an annul $10-million maintenance and upkeep bill for the 52-acre property, president of the Jamaica agricultural Society (JAS), Senator Norman Grant, said discussions of a "develop-mental and utilisation plan" with the stakeholders have commenced.
"We are looking at the rental of the facility for small agricultural and horticultural events, meetings and conferences, as well as stage shows and fun days," Senator Grant said.
The construction of a farmer's hotel for the housing of participants in the annual Denbigh agricultural show and the periodic staging of farmers' market are among the plans of the JAS for the facility to "earn its keep", he said.
The August 4-6 show was staged at a cost of $50 million with an expected $1 billion in expected business for the country, Senator Grant said.
While renewing his call for the utilisation of the more than 50 per cent of the country's underutilised farm lands, the senator said JAS will aggressively push the local consumption and export of niche crops in a bid to reduce the country's food import bill.
"Seventy-five per cent of the country's goat and mutton consumption for 2011 was imported, this is a huge opportunity for Jamaica to capitalise on this industry," he said.
The agricultural show saw some 200 hundred exhibitors and 150 overseas delegates from Trinidad and Tobago, The Cayman Islands, Antigua, St Lucia, Canada, Guyana, and the USA.