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Story Highlights

  • Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier, says the time has come for a “new kind of agriculture” that incorporates more youth involvement and the infusion of modern technology.
  • The Minister was representing Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, at the 75th anniversary gala banquet of the Jamaica 4-H Clubs on November 24 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston.
  • He noted that as part of measures to get more young people into agriculture, the Government is placing increased focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects at the secondary school level.

Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier, says the time has come for a “new kind of agriculture” that incorporates more youth involvement and the infusion of modern technology.

“Greater level of mechanisation and an increased use of high quality inputs at the appropriate time, based on the physiology of the plant and the composition of the soils (are necessary)…. .A consistent flow of excited well-trained young people (must be) willing to drive the new agriculture,” the Minister said.

“We therefore have to structurally reconfigure the entire agricultural architecture, starting with agricultural training at the secondary and tertiary levels and addressing all the binding constraints that militate against a more active and consistent engagement and participation of youth in agriculture,” he added.

The Minister was representing Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, at the 75th anniversary gala banquet of the Jamaica 4-H Clubs on November 24 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston.

He noted that as part of measures to get more young people into agriculture, the Government is placing increased focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects at the secondary school level.

The move will ensure a stream of graduates with the acumen and technological savvy necessary to drive the new agriculture, he said.

He noted further that some $12 million has been invested in the revamping and modernisation of the dairy programme at the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE) “to sow the seeds of a modern and highly productive dairy sector.”

Minister Kellier commended the Jamaica 4-H Clubs for its commitment to youth development in Jamaica, through its training programmes in agriculture, home economics, entrepreneurship, environmental awareness and healthy lifestyles among others.

During the banquet, patron of the 75th anniversary, Her Excellency the Most Hon. Lady Allen, acknowledged the milestone being celebrated by the 4-H Clubs and the critical role it has played as a training ground for youth in agriculture.

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, who is a former clubbite, paid tribute to the teachers of the 4-H movement, describing them as “the backbone” of the organisation.

He said the 4-H movement has helped to reduce the average age of farmers from 60 to roughly 48 years old.

Executive Director of the Jamaica 4-H Clubs, Ronald Blake, said that among the achievements of the 4-H Clubs is an online component to train youth in vocational studies.

During the awards gala, presentations were made to corporate partners, and 4-H volunteers, staff and supporters.

The 4-H 75th anniversary celebrations will continue until the end of March 2016.