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Friday, 13 September 2013

I AM AGRICULTURE

    Recently, a fellow blogger made a passionate plea for individuals to do their just dues in the promotion of the agricultural sector http://fortunatelyweagri.blogspot.com/2013/08/random-rambling-about-youth-involvement.html. I asked myself whether I was doing enough to change the perception of agriculture on the island, in the country and across the region. Was I encouraging youth and women participation in this very dynamic and potentially highly lucrative sector? The grief was about to consume me, when I remembered.
 
      I remembered my grandfather who was a farmer. Laboured in the land from sunrise to sunset. My mother, who was still a child, provided additional labour and was in most instances, along with her siblings, the transportation for the produce from the farm to market. My grandmother was the sales person and middleman. She made her way to market every Friday and Saturday to sell the produce. And  so it continued all my life. Though the characters changed, and fancy props were added,the script remained the same.

       Now while it may be said that this personal ranting does not address the larger issue, I can say that we are the ones responsible for agriculture being negatively labeled. We who know better will seldom go out of our way to promote the industry. We allow people to continue with the negative mindset they have of the sector. We allow persons to gnaw away at who we are, from where we have come and the values that we hold true. We allow society to nullify our existence and contributions to the growth and development of any nation. We discard our heritage, our history and our identities.  We are ashamed to call ourselves farmers. So, like little Jack Horner, we sit in a corner and allow the masses to eat the essence of the sector away.
   
      When we are able to touch someone, young or old and show them that agriculture is all that it is and can be, we take a step. When we tear down the barriers that cause us to feel embarrassed to sell our own produce, we move closer. When we cease from seeing agriculture as "slave wuk" and understand that we are no longer slaves but individuals that are gainfully self-employed, we leap. When we are able to see the bigger picture and the importance of "me" in the development of our country/ region, we grow. When we can post proudly on all our social media pages the words "I AM AGRICULTURE!" and sincerely mean it, only then we start making progress.
 
 
      To the budding farmers, marketing reps, salespersons -agropreneurs, I tip my hat or remove my headphones, whichever is best suited, as I sip on Basil tea.



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