JIS News

Dunstan Campbell, newly appointed resident representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Jamaica, has said that the agency was committed to assisting the 4-H movement in its efforts to improve food and job security.
“We see through this organisation, elements of sustainability and therefore, we will continue to work with the 4-H. The impact you can have by working with the 4-H is tremendous. We are addressing that sector of population – the youth – which is at risk today,” he told JIS News during a tour of the Rose Hall 4-H Training Centre in Linstead, St. Catherine on Friday (September 30).
“We feel if we can provide the youth with the tools necessary to face the world of work or life out there, we think that we are making a very important contribution towards food security, towards peace, justice and security,” he added.
The centre is involved in vegetable, bee, poultry and organic citrus production. The poultry farm, which was destroyed during the passage of Hurricane Ivan last September, has in stock some 1,500 layers.
Additionally, there are 2.0235 hectares (five acres) of citrus, including one hectare of organic citrus, which are sold to the public and supermarkets.
Lauding the work of the 4-H movement, Mr. Campbell said he was impressed with the agricultural projects being undertaken at the Linstead centre.
“I have seen some very good projects and I like how it is structured in terms of the commercial side (and) the practical side. I think that the strength of this organisation would depend very much on how they move those two components together,” he stated.
Executive Director of the Jamaica 4-H Club Lenworth Fulton, who accompanied the FAO representative, told JIS News that the 4-H movement had benefited from various projects funded by the FAO over the years.
“We benefited from the introduction of new technology. The implementation of scientific research, and the inflow of captital into 4-H activities have impacted on production in many ways,” he noted.
Mr. Fulton said five 4-H training centres, including the Rosehall facility, produced some 170 boxes of bees. “We intend to go up to 1,500 boxes in five years mainly for income generation,” he informed, while pointing to plans to start a bee revolving scheme at Rosehall for young people as well as to offer training in bee production.
Mr. Fulton said some $150 million was needed per year to manage the operations of the 4-H movement and disclosed that the organization had been operating various projects funded by the FAO, the Canadian International Development Agency, the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica, Kaiser Bauxite Company and other private sector organisations at an estimated $13 million per year.
“During the last two years, we accumulated $27 million that went into our programmes. We need approximately $150 million to run the 4-H Club each year and we are under that.we still drop short of $40 to $50 million,” he said.
According to Mr. Fulton, the organisation currently has about 65,000 clubbites and 4,000 teachers of which 3,000 are volunteers. “So, we are out there doing what we do and I think that we are making a big impact on our population,” he told JIS News.
Other 4-H officials on the tour were Regional Coordinator of the Eastern Region, Edith Wiggan; Manager, Field Services and Economic Development, Linton Barnes; Training Coordinator Lloyd Robinson; Property Manager Desmond Thomas and Centre Manager of the Rosehall 4-H Training Centre,Clive Pullen.