Minister with responsibility for Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw, says that the Government is committed to ensuring that the country’s youth have a voice in decision-making.
“We are ensuring that we create the platforms for our young people to meet with us as Ministers and act as influencers of change. We support you; we see you and we hear you,” he said.
The Minister was delivering the keynote address at the launch of the Jamaica 4-H Clubs’ Youth Agvocate Council, held at his Hope Gardens offices in St. Andrew on Wednesday (November 24).
Minister Shaw said that the Council “is a novel establishment of youth in agriculture”.
The body consists of 11 members, aged 18 to 35, who are tasked to be the “voice” of youth involved in agriculture, fisheries, and allied industries, through meaningful engagement with the Government at the Ministerial level.
Minister Shaw said that among the objectives of the Council are to be a “key influencer” of youth involvement in agriculture, and to engage young people in shaping sustainable food systems.
He said the establishment of the body is an indication that the Administration is elevating the voices of young people and positioning them to take up their roles as tomorrow’s leaders.
“They are fully capable of aiding us as government representatives with policies that are beneficial to them,” he said, noting that young people have a valuable contribution to make in the growth and transformation of the Jamaican agriculture and fisheries sectors.
The Agvocate Council will, among other responsibilities, advocate on issues affecting youth in the agriculture and fisheries sectors, have scheduled meetings with the Minister to discuss these issues, and guide policy on youth in agriculture.
The young people, who represent different areas of the agriculture and fisheries sectors, were selected based on their application and an interview session.
Members of the Council will serve a two-year tenure and will, among other things, use social media to launch campaigns, while encouraging more youth to get involved in agriculture.
The Ministry has a robust youth in agriculture programme that addresses diversification in the sector, modern farming practices, new crop varieties and animal strains, reducing soil pollution, integrating bioenergy, national food security, reduction in rural-urban migration, and increasing employment for young people.