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  • The Ministry of Agriculture is moving to increase youth involvement in the sector by providing young people with access to land in the nine agro-parks currently in operation.
  • Portfolio Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier, made the announcement while addressing the launch of the Jamaica 4-H Clubs’ 75th anniversary celebrations on Wednesday, April 1, at the agency’s headquarters on Old Hope Road, St. Andrew.
  • He said the initiative has already commenced at the Spring Plain/Ebony Park agro-park in Clarendon, where 100 acres of land has been set aside for young people.

The Ministry of Agriculture is moving to increase youth involvement in the sector by providing young people with access to land in the nine agro-parks currently in operation.

Portfolio Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier, made the announcement while addressing the launch of the Jamaica 4-H Clubs’ 75th anniversary celebrations on Wednesday, April 1, at the agency’s headquarters on Old Hope Road, St. Andrew.

He said the initiative has already commenced at the Spring Plain/Ebony Park agro-park in Clarendon, where 100 acres of land has been set aside for young people.

He informed that 20 youngsters have been selected to benefit, with each to have access to five acres of land.

Mr. Kellier pointed out that the beneficiaries were chosen after being screened by a team from the Ministry, in conjunction with the Agro-Investment Corporation, which, has responsibility for the agro-parks. He said they are “very close to taking possession (of the lands).”

With regard to financing for the programme, Minister Kellier has informed that “we are expecting funding (assistance) through PetroCaribe and our private sector partners for the implementation,” to complement Government inputs.

Mr. Kellier said the decision to earmark land in the agro-parks for the youth is in recognition of the need to “send a signal” to young people that “there are opportunities for them in agriculture.”

“Hence, the Government is making sure it provides the kind of assistance necessary for them to get into business and…(through)…the agro-parks, link them with funding agencies…so that they can get the kind of support to move forward,” the Minister outlined.

Mr. Kellier noted that targeting young people will also safeguard the sector’s sustainability, pointing out that the average age of active farmers is currently 65 years.

“I think it is a very progressive move and we look forward to engaging young people in agro-parks across the island that we intend to set up over the next couple of years, to get them involved,…(in this) this productive process,” he said.

The Minister pointed out that the initiative forms part of an integrated development programme, which also targets other major farmers involved in “high export business,” among other stakeholders.

Meanwhile, in commending the Jamaica 4-H Clubs on the commemoration of its 75th anniversary, Mr. Kellier said the organisation is integral to the agro-parks programme.

“Some of our participants in…this initiative are also members of the 4-H Clubs, and this can only be a step in the right direction, as this is one of the ways in which we can guarantee youth involvement in increased agricultural production,” he said.

A series of islandwide activities are planned to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, for which wife of the Governor-General, Her Excellency the Most Hon. Lady Allen, is the patron.

The Jamaica 4-H Clubs is a youth training organisation under the Ministry of Agriculture, which is mandated to train young people, between the ages of five and 25, in the areas of agriculture, home economics, leadership, social skills, environmental awareness, and healthy lifestyles.