Agriculture Ministry Proposes Initiatives to Attract More Youth to the Industry


The Ministry of Agriculture and Lands has prepared a draft position paper that proposes several initiatives geared toward getting more young people involved in agriculture.
State Minister for Agriculture, Victor Cummings, speaking at a cheque handing over ceremony held yesterday (July 13) in the Ministry’s conference room in Kingston, noted that the document makes such proposals as increased enrollment in agricultural institutions, utilizing idle lands for agriculture, and divesting land to young people under a tenant-farming type scheme with a lease-to-sell arrangement. “We have so much idle land sitting there. The government doesn’t even know where most of the lands that it owns (are), so we’re working with the National Land Agency and developing an inventory of government land,” he informed.
Elaborating on the suggested tenant-farming arrangement, Mr. Cummings explained that, “one of the proposals is how can we get the land into their (young people) hands, get them producing, and eventually where they can purchase those lands”. “We’ve also suggested that if land is divested to them and they don’t put that land into good agricultural use within a set period of time, the land should be returned to the government, so that we can get those who are interested using it,” he pointed out.
Mr. Cummings stated that Jamaica has bright prospects in agriculture and the future of the industry rests with the youth.
At the function, sponsors handed over cheques totaling some $150,000 to support competitive events under the Rural Agricultural Development Authority’s (RADA) Youth in Agriculture/School’s Agriculture Programme.
The events, which will culminate on the first day of next month’s Denbigh Agricultural Show, will comprise public speaking, essay, poster, food technology, agriculture quiz, and school farm competitions.

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