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Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Roger Clarke, says the Ministry of Education’s school feeding programme will be targeted as a catalyst to boost agricultural development, particularly in rural communities.

He said this would facilitate greater utilisation of crops cultivated, particularly fruits and vegetables, while providing a healthy alternative to bag drinks, which are currently incorporated in the nutrition provisions for students at a number of schools islandwide.

The Minister was addressing  the opening ceremony for the Christiana Potato Growers’ Co-operative’s immersion technology training programme, in Manchester, on April 12.

Noting that bag drinks could potentially “give children diabetes” before they are fully developed, Mr. Clarke said he is advocating the introduction of more fruit and vegetable juices into the school nutrition programmes.

"We want more use of our otaheite apple, cucumber, melon and mango…all the fruits that we have with fantastic flavours, that sometimes go to waste. We want to incorporate those into the school feeding programme, instead of some imported items,” he asserted.

The Christiana Potato Growers’ Co-operative’s  immersion technology project, which has been endorsed by the Ministry, aims to improve the productivity and production levels of root crops, thereby advancing development of a cluster for these and increasing the farmers’ income.

 

By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter