News Date: August 26 2016
Former agriculture minister Roger Clarke was remembered for his commitment to the sustainable development of the local and regional agriculture sectors, and the welfare of small farmers in particular, during Tuesday's launch of a scholarship in his memory, tenable at the College of Agriculture, Science and Education in Passley Gardens, Portland.
Valued at $250,000 the scholarship which is offered by the Caribbean Broilers Group of Companies will be awarded to an outstanding second-year student pursuing a bachelor's degree in agricultural science, with effect from next month.
Dr Keith Amiel, manager corporate affairs at Caribbean Broilers (Jamaica) Limited, used the launch event at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel, New Kingston to explain some of the reasons the company was committed to celebrating "the memory of a remarkable man".
"I recall the day when a poultry industry delegation, faced with impending extinction, walked into his office to complain that indiscriminate (and below cost) poultry imports were ruining us."
Clarke, he said, immediately called in his officers to review the possibility of imposing tariffs to safeguard the considerable investment of local operators and the many jobs that would be in jeopardy. After being properly informed, Clarke took action, as he saw necessary.
"In spite of protests from powerful sources, he insisted that the safeguards be put in place, thereby not only ensuring the survival of the Jamaican poultry industry but creating a stable environment on which we could continuously modernise and upgrade our operations to better serve our customers and countrymen.
And today, except for essentially neck and back, Jamaica is self sufficient in chicken," Dr Amiel explained.