My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Rise of King Tobacco threatens Agriculture for Food – Vybz Kartel Hot Grabba killing Marijuana Farming

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Rise of King Tobacco threatens Agriculture for Food – Vybz Kartel Hot Grabba killing Marijuana Farming

Statistics are like alienists – they will testify for either side

F. H. La Guardia, In Liberty, May 1933

Jamaican Agriculture is in serious Trouble, despite the 24% increase in crop production and 14% overall growth in the entire Agriculture Sector for the Second Quarter of 2011 when compared to the Second Quarter of 2010AD as per the article “Jamaican crop production up 24 per cent”, published Monday, May 02, 2011, The Jamaica Observer.

 No, not for a lack of investment as the Chinese are gung-ho about it. This as evidenced by the recent signing of the Memorandum of Understanding with the People’s Republic of China for cooperation on Agriculture with US$3.288 million bars of silver thrown in for good measure as stated in the article “Jamaica, China sign grant agreements, MOU for agricultural support”, published Thursday, September 22, 2011, The Jamaica Observer.

Neither is it for a lack of Bipartisan support, as PNP’s spokesperson on Agriculture, Senator Roger Clarke, has pledged his support to initiatives put on by the JLP Minister of Agriculture, Senator Robert Montague as mentioned in the article “Clarke pledges non-partisan support for agriculture”, published Monday, October 03, 2011 BY ALICIA SUTHERLAND Observer staff reporter, The Jamaica Observer

Rather, it is because Jamaican Farmers are increasingly choosing to grow Tobacco instead of crops for food as stated in the article “Jamaica: Not giving up on Tobacco”, published Sunday October 2, 2011, by Gary Spauldings, The Jamaica Gleaner.

This as Tobacco fetches upwards of JA$8,000 per pound, as evidenced by a Rural Agriculture Development Authority (RADA) Study compiled in 2011AD that tracked the progress of the Tobacco Industry over a two (2) year period:

1.      It grows in almost any soil type with little needs for cultivation and maintenance, as the plant itself is a weed
2.      The dried leaves can be stored for long periods
3.      It is lightweight and easily compressible
4.      The demand for the product is high and can be readily be made into end products fetching a higher price without having to sell their crop to Carrerras Group of Companies
5.      The level of expertise required is very low, as most of the farmers have been growing the product for less than two (2) years

More interesting statistics:

1.      The Tobacco Industry is valued at JA$397 million.
2.      Gross earnings per acre is approximately JA$1.28 million.
3.      Average Gross Earning per Tobacco farmer is just under JA$693,000

Yes, you read that right folks.

Growing Tobacco is really more lucrative than growing Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa) as stated in an earlier article entitled “Tobacco worries - Jamaica in treaty contravention”, published Sunday September 18, 2011 by Gary Spauldings, The Jamaica Gleaner. The curious fact that caught my eye, as Tobacco, known among the youth of the community of Milk River, Clarendon where I live, is called “Grabbba”.

It is often mixed with Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa) and smoked, which may explain the name (Declaimer: I don’t smoke nor drink alcohol!!). That this simple weed is beating out Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa) cultivation, which by the way is still illegal in Jamaica, speaks to the irony of the legality of growing and selling Tobacco, when BOTH are in fact narcotics with similar levels of addictiveness.

Its excessive cultivation puts Jamaica in contravention of the WHO (World Health Organization’s) FCTC (Framework Convention on Tobacco Control), a treaty to the UN (United Nations) to which the government of Jamaica has been signatory since 2005AD. Thus the Government of Jamaica needs to control the growth of Tobacco, making sure, like sugar cane used for the manufacture of Rum that it is under the control of Carrerras Group of Companies, makers of several brands of Cigarettes such as Rothmans and Craven A.

Carrerras Group of Companies can then follow through on the plan to make e-Cigarettes as suggested in my blog article entitled “Carerras and e-cigarettes - THC Thanks You for Smoking The Next Big Thing”, as it would appear with “Hot Grabba” killing Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa) production, Tobacco production may be seeing a renaissance.

Thus controlling it is essential. Otherwise not only will Jamaica still be in breach of the WHO FCTC, but we may inadvertently starve to death as farmers stop seeing crops for food production as being lucrative and decided to cultivate tobacco, as the Tainos did before the conquistadors killed them off with hard farm labour. 

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