- Students and teachers are hailing the staging of the annual Minard Livestock Show and Beef Festival in educating the public about the importance of agriculture to national development in a fun and exciting way
- Approximately 5,000 students from institutions islandwide attended the 20th staging of the event held earlier this month in Brown’s Town, St. Ann, under the theme ‘Empowering Youth through Livestock Production through National Development’.
- Ten-year-old Akeelia Dehaney of Granville Primary and Infant school in Trelawny told JIS News that the event was “exciting and educational” and she intends to share the knowledge gained with her classmates who were unable to attend.
Students and teachers are hailing the staging of the annual Minard Livestock Show and Beef Festival in educating the public about the importance of agriculture to national development in a fun and exciting way.
Approximately 5,000 students from institutions islandwide attended the 20th staging of the event held earlier this month in Brown’s Town, St. Ann, under the theme ‘Empowering Youth through Livestock Production through National Development’.
Activities for the day were designed to showcase important aspects of the livestock industry, with the view of attracting more young people to the sector.
As customary, students were given the opportunity to win livestock through participation in competitions such as calf and goat scrambles.
There were also educational sessions on livestock and farming, cultural presentations, and various food items.
Throughout the day, the booths were jam-packed with students and other attendees as they soaked up the various offerings.
Ten-year-old Akeelia Dehaney of Granville Primary and Infant school in Trelawny told JIS News that the event was “exciting and educational” and she intends to share the knowledge gained with her classmates who were unable to attend.
“I am here to see the different farm animals like the cows, the goats, and horses. I also came to see the lovely vegetables, fruits and I collected pamphlets about the different areas.
“I also came to have fun and to observe the different activities. I will share with the students what we did and what we learnt and how we enjoyed ourselves,” she said.
Grade-11 student at the Ocho Rios High School, Sadia Lamey, who was attending the Minard festival for the first time, noted that the event highlighted the importance of agriculture to the society.
“The experience was great. It was actually my first time here despite being a part of the 4H-Clubs for several years now. Agriculture plays an important role in my country, as it helps us to gain a lot of money,” she said.
Teacher at the Sturge Town Primary School in St. Ann, Shania Williams, told JIS News that the event was “fun and exciting” for the 19 students from the institution who attended.
She noted that the show was information rich and will serve to encourage more young people to consider entering the agriculture industry.
“There were lots of things to see… and students got a chance to see how they can venture into agriculture,” Ms. Williams said.
Meanwhile, Acting Principal of the Corinaldi Avenue Primary in Montego Bay, St. James, Deon Stern-Anglin, said that her institution was well represented at the event, with 190 students attending.
She said that the annual agricultural show continues to contribute to the holistic development of students, which is an important component of education.
“We believe in building the child mentally, socially, [and] physically, so we carry them out so they can experience the outside world. I think if they come here and get this experience they will understand that we need to eat what we grow and be much more appreciative of our farmers,” Mrs. Stern-Anglin said.
She added that aspects of the event also align with the New Standard Curriculum at the primary level and will be integrated in the teacher-learning process.
“In the curriculum, we have a subject called Resource and Technology, and in this area, the students have to do Agricultural Science.
“I know in grade five they have to do a containerised garden, so coming here and experiencing this atmosphere and this awesome exposure, will now help them to do what they need to do in the class, because first-hand experience is better than anything we can share as a teacher,” she told JIS News.
The Jamaica 4-H Clubs has been partnering with the organisers of the Minard show since its first staging in 1996.
The Club’s Executive Director, Dr. Ronald Blake, said that the event has become a great brand for the agricultural sector, as it provides practical exposure, which benefits young people in the classroom.
“This is one of three major events that assist in the educational development of our young farmers. Having thousands of my 4-H clubbers here is not by accident but it is to provide that critical exposure to livestock production, and so this event has grown over the years,” Dr. Blake noted.
He commended the organisers of the event “for continuing to provide a very impactful product for young people who have an interest in agriculture”.
Jamaica 4-H Clubs Regional Home Economics Specialist, Sylvia Porteous, who manned the club’s exhibition booth at the event, immersed students in interactive sessions in cake decorating.
“Every year we are represented at the Minard Show and these clubbites come from all over Jamaica, and when they come we see them gravitating towards our tent. We empower them to learn skills, so today, we focused on cake decoration. So, if they are having a birthday party, they can decorate their own cake. We believe in doing things hands-on,” she told JIS News.
She is encouraging students to consider backyard gardening as an income generator.
Veterinarian at Hi-Pro, Dr. Kirk Michael Harris, underscored the importance of the annual Minard show in promoting the livestock industry as well as agriculture education.
He said the Hi-Pro team was pleased to engage the hundreds of students who flocked the company’s exhibition booth.
“Minard is mainly a livestock show, so we are talking about sheep, goat and cattle and primarily ruminants. So the students will pass through and we give them advice and answer the questions that they may ask from time to time,” Dr. Harris told JIS News.
The staging of the annual Minard Livestock Show and Beef Festival involves partnership with the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, the Cattle Breeders Society of Jamaica, Jamaica 4-H Clubs and Agro-Investment Corporation.