Jamaica News: The Jamaica 4-H Clubs has assisted more than 1,600 young people across the island to develop livestock farms over the last five years.
Speaking with JIS News at the Minard Livestock Show and Beef Festival in Brown’s Town, St. Ann, recently, Executive Director of the Jamaica 4-H Clubs, Dr. Ronald Blake, said that most of the young people have become successful farmers and entrepreneurs in cattle, rabbit, pig and goat rearing.
He said that the movement is “serious about strengthening the livestock sector” and seeks to get more young people to buy into the idea of livestock farming.
“The thrust to have a sustainable source of protein is not only healthy for the country but provides tremendous employment opportunities. The Jamaica 4-H Clubs, as the organisation that has responsibility for youth in agriculture in Jamaica, has a responsibility to ensure that we have a cadre of young people who will always be available to become participants in the industry,” he noted.
Dr. Blake told JIS News that over the last five years, 95 scholarships have been awarded for students to study animal science or other discipline at the tertiary level.
“These are the youngsters that are coming back in the sector to provide technical support and to ensure that this sector remains very competitive,” he pointed out.
Dr. Blake said the efforts of the Jamaica 4-H Clubs to increase youth involvement in agriculture have also helped to significantly reduce the average age of the Jamaican farmer from 60 to about 48 years.
“This is something we are proud of because the younger our farmers are the more likely they are to adopt technology,” he pointed out.
Dr. Blake said that the organisation is moving to ensure that farmers become more productive through the integration of more technological practices in agriculture, which, he said, will “ensure higher levels of production and redound to economic growth”.
Source: JIS News