JIS News

Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Christopher Tufton, says the Government is developing a new approach to agricultural education and training, with a view to motivating more young people to play their role in increasing food security.
“We are now in discussion with a number of stakeholders, looking at establishing a centre of excellence for agricultural research and training, which will tap into all the modern methods of agricultural activity that, are applicable to what we are doing here in Jamaica, and to expose ultimately, more young people to those new and modern approaches,” he stated.
The Agriculture Minister, was addressing students and staff at the Knockalva Agricultural School, in Ramble, Hanover, during the launch of a popular hydroponics project at the institution on Wednesday (Sept. 17).
Hydroponics is the technique of growing plants without soil as the growing medium, whereas popular hydroponics involves the application of the hydroponics concept, on a scale suitable for producing fresh vegetables and fruits for family consumption or for small scale commercial vegetable production.
“So when we talk about hydroponics, or greenhouse technology, when we talk about the type of soil preparation that is required, soil nutrient testing, when we speak about management of diseases, the developing of orchard crops, agro-processing, (they are) words that you are familiar with, but concepts that we really need to explore a lot more, in order for us to really develop the expertise in the field,” he said.
“We do not want you to leave here as generalists,” he told the students, “yes you will have a knowledge of everything, but we want to move you to the next level, so that you can go on to higher institutions of learning, and specialise in a particular area of agricultural activity, and in specialising allow you not just to earn a living from what you are doing, but to be able to provide a solution , or option, that the Jamaican people and indeed the world will see as a real option.”
Minister Tufton stated that the good thing about it, is that there are case studies of success available right here in Jamaica.
He went on to underscore the importance of youth involvement in agriculture, adding that as individuals they need to realise their full potential. He said that the reflection of success or failure of any society, is the extent to which it allows its citizenry to realise their full potential.