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  • State Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture, Labour, and Social Security, Hon Luther Buchanan, is emphasizing the need for more youth involvement in agriculture, to ensure the sector’s continued growth.
  • The State Minister also advised that the administration will be engaging financial institutions to provide funding and credit for young people interested in agriculture.
  • He contended that both RADA and Jamaica 4H must ensure that the enabling environment and required support systems are in place to foster continued growth and sustained interest in and participation by young people in agriculture.

State Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture, Labour, and Social Security, Hon Luther Buchanan, is emphasizing the need for more youth involvement in agriculture, to ensure the sector’s continued growth.

Mr. Buchanan underscored this point while addressing the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) Hanover branch’s recent open day exhibition, held at the agency’s parish office in Lucea, which was staged under the theme: ‘Empowering Youth Involvement in Agriculture’.

In voicing concern over the reluctance of more young people to opt for careers in agriculture, against the background of an ageing farming population, Minister Buchanan said “we recognise that if the… sector is to continue on its growth path and achieve renewal and continuity, we need to attract and retain (more) youth.”

To this end, he said the Government has sought to ensure that a component is reserved for youth involvement and facilitation in all major state production initiatives and programmes, such as the Agro-parks.

The State Minister also advised that the administration will be engaging financial institutions to provide funding and credit for young people interested in agriculture.

While Mr. Buchanan lauded the achievements of the Jamaica 4H Clubs in recruiting and engaging youth in agriculture, which, he noted, is evident with the phenomenal enrolment of 85,000 members, he, however, stressed that the challenge remains in determining how best to encourage them to choose a long-term career in agriculture.

He contended that both RADA and Jamaica 4H must ensure that the enabling environment and required support systems are in place to foster continued growth and sustained interest in and participation by young people in agriculture.

Noting that the fortunes of the local and global economies will rely greatly on engagements in entrepreneurship, vocational enterprise, and cottage industries, Mr. Buchanan argued that “increasingly, young people will need to utilize their hands to create and nurture small businesses in order to create employment and income generation.”

In this regard, he contended that there are numerous opportunities in agriculture for enterprise activities and self-employment.

“The opportunities are there and we need to ensure that idle hands are put to work on idle lands, promoting production and productivity, while creating income generating opportunities. These are the right ingredients for family farming, recognised internationally as the real engine of agricultural production, being celebrated this year by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) arm of the United Nations (UN),” he stated.

 

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