- The Government has set aside some 100 acres of land for young farmers at the Amity Hall Agro Park, in St. Catherine.
- The Government is also seeking start-up financing for the young farmers.
- The agro parks concept is aimed at putting some 8,000 acres of idle lands into production.
As part of a national drive to encourage young people to get involved in agriculture, the Government has set aside some 100 acres of land for young farmers at the Amity Hall Agro Park, in St. Catherine, while also seeking start-up financing for them.
Chief Executive Officer at the Agro-Investment Corporation (AIC), Everton Spencer, told JIS News on October 3, while touring the Amity Hall Agro Park with other Government officials, that agriculture must be an attractive venture for the young in the society, and they are part of the mega effort in the Agro Parks programme.
“As part of our strategy and initiative to integrate young farmers into farming, we have set aside 100 acres for the young farmers. We have already identified them, and what we are doing is to seek financing for them,” Mr. Spencer said.
He disclosed that the University of the West Indies will be providing sponsorship for three of the 20 farmers that are to operate at the Park.
“It is exciting, because we feel that the young people are the future, and this Agro Park provides the best test for these young farmers to fully realize their potential, and most importantly, to make some money for themselves, so that they can expand, develop and move up the financial ladder of success,” Mr. Spencer said.
He pointed out that some 700 acres of onions will be cultivated at the nine Agro Parks, along with other crops. “All of them have markets, because we don’t grow anything on the Agro Parks without markets,” he emphasized.
“The plan is to grow 700 acres of onions, so that we will never have a need to import onions again. The objective of these Parks is to increase production and productivity by utilizing best practices. What you are seeing on these Parks are practices that will improve production and productivity, and we have seen results,” Mr. Spencer said.
Agro parks, targeted specifically at import substitution, are developed through a tri-partite partnership involving the Government, farmer/investors, and the private sector.
The Government is making the lands available with the requisite infrastructure for leasing to farmers/investors, who will be responsible for working capital and agricultural production.
The agro parks concept is aimed at putting some 8,000 acres of idle lands into production , and are sited at: Plantain Gardens and Yallahs, St. Thomas; Amity Hall and Hill Run, St. Catherine; Ebony Park and Spring Plain in Clarendon; New Forest/Duff House, St. Elizabeth/Manchester; Ettingdon, Trelawny; and Meylersfield in Westmoreland.
CONTACT: GARFIELD L. ANGUS