Female Farmers Holding Their Own

Photo: Garwin Davis Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, greets farmers on arrival at the Schwallenburgh Greenhouse Cluster and Water Harvesting Project in Rio Hoe, St. Ann, on September 15.

Story Highlights

  • Female farmers at the Schwallenburgh Greenhouse Cluster and Water Harvesting Project in Rio Hoe, St. Ann, say things are changing, while acknowledging that farming has long been a male-dominated profession.
  • Speaking to JIS News, the female farmers note that of the 20 farmers that are involved in the World Bank-sponsored greenhouse project, nearly 50 per cent are women who have been “holding our own” working alongside their male counterparts.
  • “We have been involved in every phase of this project,” explained Jenice Lewis. “There is hardly anything the male farmers can do that we have not been doing… . Even the construction part of the project… we were very instrumental in that too,” she adds.

Female farmers at the Schwallenburgh Greenhouse Cluster and Water Harvesting Project in Rio Hoe, St. Ann, say things are changing, while acknowledging that farming has long been a male-dominated profession.

Speaking to JIS News, the female farmers note that of the 20 farmers that are involved in the World Bank-sponsored greenhouse project, nearly 50 per cent are women who have been “holding our own” working alongside their male counterparts.

“We have been involved in every phase of this project,” explained Jenice Lewis. “There is hardly anything the male farmers can do that we have not been doing… . Even the construction part of the project… we were very instrumental in that too,” she adds.

Valerie Williams, who admitted to have been taught farming by both her father and grandfather, says many females now see farming as big business and are “tripping over each other” to get involved.

“When we look at the linkage to tourism and all the possibilities that are out there, who wouldn’t want to be involved? And, I am not just talking about this project…. Women have been finding their way into farming more than ever before,” she says.

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson, only recently emphasised that he wants to see more women involved in farming.

“I am particularly pleased to see a lot of our women now getting involved in farming,” the Minister told JIS News then.

“While the general belief has always been that farming is a man’s game, I am happy that our female farmers have started to debunk that myth and are showing that they are just as capable of doing a good job as the male farmers,” the Minister said.

For her part, Rio Hoe resident, Venette Ruddock, says that now is as good a time as any for persons to get into agriculture, especially with the numerous opportunities that are available through “the linkage with tourism”.

“This is big business, and women are aware of the opportunities. We read the papers and we follow the news. There are a lot of hotel rooms that are being built and there will be a lot of mouths to feed. We have a ready-made market, so long as we can produce enough to supply it,” she notes.

Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, who addressed visiting World Bank officials at the Schwallenburgh greenhouse project on September 15, said he was happy to see how involved the female farmers were in the project, calling it a very good sign for agriculture.

“What impresses me most is that you are viewing this as a business… something which is sustainable and can generate a consistent source of income,” the Minister noted.

“I am always happy to see our females making inroads and making their presence felt in things like farming. I have every confidence that we will see more of this and where our country will be the better for it,” the Minister said.

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