Jamaica News: Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw, says young people involved in farming will be able to utilize the proposed agro-processing facility to be developed at the old Agricultural Marketing Corporation (AMC) complex on Spanish Town Road, Kingston.
He said young farmers will, among other things, be able to utilize the facility to further hone and develop their skills.
Mr. Shaw was speaking during the opening ceremony for the Youth in Agriculture Village at the 66th Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show at the Denbigh showground in Clarendon on August 4.
The Ministry is spearheading the transformation of the complex, which is situated on approximately nine acres of land and was previously used to process and package local produce for domestic distribution and export.
Mr. Shaw assured that the Government remains committed to finding solutions to challenges within the sector that will redound to the benefit of stakeholders, particularly the youth.
He noted that the sector grew by 17 per cent in the last quarter, ending June 30, and encouraged more young people to get involved in farming.
“There are many opportunities… and I say to young people, I want you to focus on agriculture. I want our young people to know that the Government is fully behind you. We’re going to be supportive of you. We’re going to find ways to help you,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Shaw advised that the Ministry plans to develop and implement strategies aimed at further developing the coconut, coffee and ganja subsectors.
He also commended the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) for organizing the Youth in Agriculture Village.
The event, which was staged under the theme: ‘Youth in Agri-Business: Sustaining the Environment’, aimed to encourage and highlight young people in agriculture.
Meanwhile Executive Director, Jamaica 4-H Clubs, Dr. Ronald Blake, indicated that over the past two years, three of every four local farmers who were registered, were below age 49.
He noted that there are many benefits which young people can derive by joining the sector, including introduction and access to technology.
“What we have seen is that there is a correlation between the youthfulness of a farmer and the ability to take up technology. If technology is employed, then you are talking about efficiency and that’s when we talk about productivity. If you have high levels of productivity, then the production that we seek to grow this economy is going to (materialize),” the Executive Director contended.
Dr. Blake further emphasized that the 4H Clubs movement continues to be the engine of what is required to further underpin the future of Jamaica’s agriculture sector.
Additionally, he said countering the effects of climate change remains a local and global imperative.
“Climate resilience measures… eco-based adaptation systems are what must occasion everybody who has the interest of the sector at heart,” Dr. Blake added.
The 66th staging of the Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show was held under the theme: ‘Grow What You Eat…Eat What You Grow: Agriculture Securing our Future’.
The event, which commenced on Saturday, August 4, will conclude on Independence Day, Monday, August 6.
Source: JIS News