Minister of Agriculture Dr. Christopher Tufton, has said that the Government would be accelerating the Youth in Agriculture Programme this year, including providing young people with land for farming and helping them to develop business plans.
“We are going to, this year, be very aggressive in helping young people to look at agriculture as a business and to develop the principles of agricultural production, just as how we would encourage them to go into banking, tourism, shop keeping, and other occupations. We therefore have a young people initiative with some 300 youth now engaged in the process,” the Agriculture Minister said.
He was addressing the annual Montpelier Agricultural and Industrial Show, held at the Montpelier showground in St. James yesterday (April 13).
Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Christopher Tufton (R), looks at agricultural produce on display at the annual Montpelier Agricultural and Industrial Show, held at the Montpelier Show Grounds in St. James on April 13. Hundreds of farmers from across the island and young people from schools and 4-H Clubs across the parish participated in the show.
“The Ministry of Agriculture is now in the process of helping these young persons to develop business plans. We are providing for them land, and we are guiding them to access financing and marketing. We are essentially giving these youth a start in the business of agro-production and helping them to develop a sustainable model, so that they can be the catalyst to move the agricultural sector forward so that when the older farmers like us die out, we have to allow the younger ones to carry on, take the baton and move forward,” Dr. Tufton told the hundreds of participants at the show.
Dr. Tufton assured that the Government would not take agriculture lightly “because we understand its importance to rural life, to Jamaicans, and to the survival of this country. We are going to work with the farmers and ask that we, together, seek to ‘eat what we grow and grow what we eat’.”
He commended the hundreds of youth, who participated in the show and encouraged them to continue involvement in areas such as the school garden programme and 4-H Clubs’ activities.